A photo has been shared tens of thousands of times in multiple Facebook posts alongside a claim it shows "the most clear picture of the Sun's surface" captured by US space agency NASA. The claim is false: the photo is an edited image that was taken by an independent photographer. NASA told AFP that the photo was "not a NASA image".
The photo was published on Facebook here on February 4, 2021. The post reads: "The most clear picture of the sun surface published by NASA".
The photo was also shared alongside a similar claim in Facebook posts around the world, for example in Pakistan here; in the Philippines here, here and here; in Iraq here and here; in Bangladesh here; and in New Zealand here.
The claim, however, is false.
A reverse image search on Google found the photo was taken by Jason Guenzel, a US photographer. Guenzel published the photo in January 2021 on his Facebook account here; on his Twitter account here; and on his Instagram account here.
Belows is a screenshot comparison of Guenzel's photo on his Facebook page (L) and the photo shared in the misleading post (R):
"This session on the Sun was marred by sub-par atmospheric conditions leaving a loss of contrast and detail. I took this opportunity to heavily process the resulting image into a stylized rendition of the visible surface of the sun," Guenzel's Facebook post read.
In response to an enquiry from AFP, NASA's heliophysics communications lead Karen C. Fox said in an email on February 9, 2021, that the photo is "not a NASA image."
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