Fake New Year

Update 1 Jan 2014: I originally wrote this post in January 2013 but this zombie fake picture is doing the rounds again. In short: it's not Europe at midnight but shows changes in lighting between 1993-2003 and is from the US's National Ocenanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Faked satellite image
Not the view at midnight. CREDIT: AtheistEarth/Paul Blanchard/NASA. Reproduced here under the fair dealing terms (criticism) of the UK Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.


Today I saw this image getting shared around on Twitter. The main source seems to be Paul Blanchard but it had also been tweeted by AtheistEarth over an hour before him. Paul claims it is via @apod - it isn't - and that is why I'd first picked up on it. The tweet says:

Wow. Satellite photo taken at the stroke of midnight GMT on New Years Eve! (Via ) .

The implication is that this colourful image is due to new year celebrations. Can you spot the mistakes?

Hopefully the most obvious give-away that this image isn't what is claimed is that all of Europe is illuminated. Aside from the fact that the entire continent wasn't devoid of cloud cover at that moment on New Year's Eve, you might realise that only the UK, Ireland, Portugal, and Morocco exist in the GMT timezone (other countries not visible in this image do too). At midnight GMT, most of the countries in this image would have been at 1am, 2am, 3am and even 4am. Odd times to be letting off fireworks. Also, I'm not sure if the people on oil rigs in the North Sea are allowed to take fireworks with them.

Despite the image not being at midnight, it does have a real source. The original is the new Earth At Night image from NASA which is a composite of many images taken at different times (hence the lack of cloud cover). Here is part of the original NASA image for comparison.

Real satellite image
A real World At Night image of Europe. CREDIT: NASA.

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Posted in astro blog by Stuart on Thursday 03rd Jan 2013 (11:26 GMT) | 5 Comments | Permalink

Comments: Fake New Year

gravatarNot to mention those would have to be ridiculously big (or insanely high-up) fireworks to appear that large on a satellite photo.

'cause I really doubt every firework at that moment in Ireland was red.

Posted by CharonPDX on Thursday 03rd Jan 2013 (16:29 UTC)

Goofy

Posted by bob on Friday 04th Jan 2013 (13:16 UTC)

gravatarI've been pointed to the source of the multi-coloured image by the Google Space Community. It's a study of how night time lighting has changed 1993-2003. Red is where lighting has increase and blue where it has diminished.

The original is at: http://sabr.ngdc.noaa.gov/ntl/index.html?Defr&europe

Posted by Alun Salt on Tuesday 22nd Jan 2013 (13:54 UTC)

gravatarFrustratingly this image is doing the rounds again on Twitter in 2014. I've added a message at the top to clarify what it actually is an image of.

Posted by Stuart on Wednesday 01st Jan 2014 (20:16 UTC)

gravatartest

Posted by Stuart on Wednesday 01st Jan 2014 (20:17 UTC)

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