Viral Social Media Image Claiming Last Full Moon of 2023 As Seen from Space  Is Misleading 

Misleading Space Technology

Many netizens worldwide have a keen interest in the images and footage released by NASA, particularly those related to space exploration. However, a concerning trend has emerged on social media, where these images are edited and often circulated with misleading contexts. Our investigation aims to shed light on such instances and examine the accuracy of information associated with these captivating visuals.

Social Media Posts

A viral image circulating on social media purports to show the last full moon of 2023, as seen from space, recently released by NASA.

Facebook| Archived

Users commented on it like below.

Flat-earthers, a small group of people who claim that the Earth is flat despite overwhelming scientific evidence to the contrary, have also shared and commented on this image due to its visible nature of a seemingly flat surface.

Fact Check 

Reverse Image Search: Time Discrepancy & Rotated Image

After conducting a reverse image search, we successfully traced the origin of the image to the NASA official website, dated December 2022. As seen below from the original image, it’s clear that the horizontal image had been rotated in the viral post, which misled many users.

NASA  | Archived

This original image shows a horizontal frame, and the picture caption states, “The Full Moon is pictured setting below Earth’s horizon from the International Space Station as it orbited 269 miles (around 433 km) above the southern Indian Ocean..”

We noticed the same image had been used in multiple posts, including NASA’s tweets and websites since then.

Image NOT captures from Deep Space But from the Higher End of Earth`s Atmosphere.

The Earth’s atmosphere has five major and several secondary layers. From lowest to highest, the major layers are the troposphere, stratosphere, mesosphere, thermosphere, and exosphere. More on this here.

The original photo of the viral image was captured from the International Space Station (ISS), which ISS orbits at an altitude of between 370–460 km, which falls within the thermosphere—more on this thermosphere and ISS here.

The International Space Station (ISS) is a habitable artificial satellite that orbits the Earth and serves as a space environment research laboratory. Considered one of the most significant achievements in space exploration and international cooperation, the ISS has been continuously inhabited since 2000. ISS is a collaborative project involving multiple space agencies, including NASA, Roscosmos, ESA, JAXA, and CSA.

Therefore, it is crucial to note that the ISS is orbiting towards the higher end of Earth’s atmosphere, specifically the thermosphere, and not in deep space. The viral claim incorrectly presumes the photo to be captured from space.

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Title:Viral Social Media Image Claiming Last Full Moon of 2023 As Seen from Space Is Misleading

Written By: Kalana Krishantha 

Result: Misleading

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