This week social media has been blowing up over an image depicting the sun as being super furry. It was attributed to NASA in the original post, but that’s not actually true.
NASA didn’t take the furry sun photo
The image in question was posted by the Nature is Lit Twitter account. It shows what is said to be the surface on the sun, which looks a little different to what you’d expect.
Rather than the raging ball of fire we’re accustomed to, it looks furry — as if you’re looking at at a close up of an animal.
“The clearest picture of the sun from NASA,” the tweet reads.
Since being posted it has popped off on Twitter as well as Facebook.
???? The clearest picture of the sun from NASA pic.twitter.com/F9ExmKkSgi
— Nature is Lit (@Nature_Is_Lit) February 7, 2021
But that isn’t actually the truth.
A reverse image search of the picture reveals that it was taken by a photographer in Michigan named Jason Guenzel. He created the piece through photos he took with his own solar telescope. He has not been credited by Nature is Lit.
Guenzel first uploaded the photo to Twitter on January 14, as well as Fine Art America on January 21, calling it Magnetic Sun.
If you click into the photo on Twitter (which has been flipped around), you will see that a watermark from Guenzel has been blurred. It is much clearer in the original image he posted:
It also isn’t as clear as that tweet said
While the Nature is Lit tweet said this was the clearest picture of the sun, that isn’t true either.
According to Guenzel himself, the image has been given a a hefty processing treatment.
“This heavily software-processed image of the solar chromosphere reveals the complex nature of the magnetic field within our star. Walking the thin line between science and art … perhaps blurring it a bit,” Guenzel said on Twitter.
This heavily software-processed image of the solar chromosphere reveals the complex nature of the magnetic field within our star.
— Jason Guenzel (@TheVastReaches) January 13, 2021
Guenzel also corrected the Nature is Lit tweet on February 8.
“Thanks for the share. I am the original content creator. This is a processed image using photos collected through my backyard solar telescope,” He said while also linking to his original tweet.
So while this is truly a beautiful image, and it’s nice to think of the sun as a 696,340km doggo, there’s certainly more to the story than meets the eye.
Not only is its popularity spreading misinformation, it is denying the content creator proper attribution and remuneration for his work.
You can check out more of Jason Guenzel’s work over on Instagram.