No, This Is Not A Picture Of A Solar Eclipse Clicked By A Pilot

BOOM found that the photo has been on the internet since 2017 and is a digital artwork.

A digital artwork of a solar eclipse is being shared as photo showing the recent June 21 solar eclipse. The digital artwork which has existed online since 2017 has been further photoshopped to add an aircraft flying against the backdrop of the eclipse and is now being shared with a false claim that it was clicked by a British Airways pilot crossing the Atlantic ocean.

BOOM found that the original image, without the aircraft in it, is a stock photo taken from Adobe with the vague caption 'Solar Eclipse "Elements of this image furnished by NASA" which indicates that the image has been digitally manipulated, and is not an actual photograph of the eclipse.

The image is being shared in the week that saw an annular solar eclipse on June 21 from 9.15 am to 3.04 pm in India. NASA defined this solar eclipse as a phenomenon that happens when the moon is farthest from Earth and doesn't block the entire view of the sun, leaving a 'ring of fire' (annulus) visible.

This photo is being shared with the claim that it was shot by a British Airways pilot while flying across the Atlantic Ocean. An archive of the tweet is available here.

Facebook users were sharing it with a similar caption. An archive of the post is available here.

The message is also viral on Whatsapp with a similar caption that the photo is of the June 21 solar eclipse that has been captured by a British Airways pilot flying over the Atlantic Ocean.

Fact Check

BOOM found that the original picture is likely a digital artwork which has been further edited and an aircraft added to it, to make the false claims. A reverse image search on the photograph shows results without the aircraft. The image also yields search results from 2017, showing that the photo is from before the solar eclipse that happened on June 21.

The first result is of an Adobe Stock photo which has a caption, 'Solar Eclipse "Elements of this image furnished by NASA"' by a user with the name 'muratart' and appears without the aeroplane.

The vague caption implies that the original image is a work of digital art and not an original photograph of a solar eclipse.


A search with the keywords 'Solar Eclipse "Elements of this image furnished by NASA"' shows that Shutterstock has the same image in its library. We also notice that the artist muratart has a whole gallery with artworks about the solar eclipse.

The reverse search also shows that the same image, sometimes with the aircraft and sometimes sans it, has been doing the rounds on social media as early as 2017 and has been periodically revived and shared. BOOM had previously debunked the image in a 2017 weekly fact-checking round-up.

A look at the NASA guidelines to photograph the solar eclipse from a smartphone makes it clear that capturing the solar eclipse is not as easy as picking up your smartphone and clicking a picture. The same applies to solar eclipse photography with a DSLR camera. Both need a telephoto lens to capture a photo of the sun and a solar filter seems almost mandatory which make it impossible to capture from the window of a moving aeroplane.

Claim Review :   Fake photo Of solar eclipse taken by pilot
Claimed By :  Social Media Posts, Whatsapp forwards
Fact Check :  False
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