Archive for the ‘debunking’ Category

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About that fake Mars night sky panorama

February 23, 2021

There’s a thing flying around Facebook, and probably other social media sites, that purports to show a panorama of a starry night sky over the Perseverance rover. There are a couple of problems with it.

For one, it’s a fake. The landscape around Perseverance is real, and the sky is real, but it’s an Earth sky, not a Mars sky, and the two have been composited together. How do we know?

  1. If it was dark enough to see all those stars, it would be waaaay too dark to see the ground in front of the rover.
  2. So I checked the NASA website and found the original photo (link): 

EDIT: to be perfectly clear, so there’s no confusion: the Martian landscape is a genuine photographic panorama from NASA, which is shown and linked below, and the night sky is a genuine photographic panorama taken from Earth, and the two have been misleadingly composited by a YouTuber, who I am not going to name or link to because I don’t want to promote his work. NASA didn’t fake anything here!

Not only is the composite a fake, it’s a particularly clumsy and hilarious fake. I realized that since the sky above the horizon at any one time is a hemisphere, there is a 50% chance that Mars would be in the sky in the panorama, and I thought that would be pretty hilarious. So I went looking, and I found it. Here’s the proof:

The ecliptic–the plane on which the sun, moon, and all of the planets appear to move across the sky as seen from Earth–goes right by Regulus. There is no bright star at the circled point, so it must be a planet. And I’m certain that the bright “star” in the image is Mars, because it’s red, and because Jupiter hasn’t been by there in a few years–it’s currently on the other side of the sky.

So the composite panorama has the amazing spectacle of Mars in the night sky above…Mars. That’s a pretty spectacular fail.

This composite thing is bogus and stupid. If it comes your way, don’t give it any likes, or any clicks. Put up a link to this post instead. It’s not like Mars isn’t amazing on its own! Reality doesn’t need any enhancement.