The claim: Image shows a selfie captured from the International Space Station
Some social media users are sharing an image they claim is a selfie taken by the International Space Station.
The image shows an astronaut taking a selfie with the Earth’s lights shining in the background.
“Best selfie ever from ISS,” claims the caption of one post that was shared July 23.
The post garnered more than 800 shares in two days. Similar posts sharing the purported image have spread on Facebook and Twitter.
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But the image is not real. It is a digital combination of two separate images taken more than a decade apart.
USA TODAY reached out to the social media user who shared the claim for comment.
Image is combination of two separate images
The astronaut featured in the viral image is Akihiko Hoshide, a Japanese astronaut selected to travel to the ISS in 2012. The ISS is operated by NASA and orbits the Earth at a distance of about 250 miles.
Hoshide captured the selfie on Sept. 5, 2012, during Expedition 32, a six-person research mission in 2012.
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Hoshide’s original selfie features the sun in the background, not the Earth’s lights. This selfie has been featured in various articles throughout the past decade, published by outlets including National Geographic and Time. It was also featured on Google’s Arts and Culture webpage.
The background included in the altered image is a separate image created by NASA 12 years before Hoshide’s selfie was taken.
The image was published on Oct. 23, 2000, using data captured between 1994 and 1995. It shows electric lights spanning Europe and Northern Africa.
Titled, “Earth’s City Lights,” the image was created with data from the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program and Operational Linescan System, according to NASA’s Visible Earth website.
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The Facebook image’s color saturation has also been increased.
Our rating: Altered
Based on our research, we rate ALTERED an image purportedly showing a selfie captured from the ISS. It is a digital combination of an astronaut’s selfie taken in 2012 and a digital representation of the Earth’s city lights created in 2000.
Our fact-check sources:
- NASA, Oct. 30, 2020, What Is the International Space Station?
- Human Spaceflight Technology Directorate, accessed July 25, HOSHIDE Akihiko
- NASA, Sept. 6, 2012, Aki Hoshide
- National Geographic, June 24, 2019, The brief (and bizarre) history of selfies in space
- Time, Feb. 26, 2015, See The 10 Best Space Selfies Ever Taken
- Google Arts and Culture, accessed July 25, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Aki Hoshide uses a digital still camera to expose a photo of his helmet visor during the mission
- NASA Visible Earth, Oct. 23, 2000, Earth’s City Lights
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