[First: CONGRATS to SpaceX for the successful launch of the Falcon 9 and deployment of the Dragon capsule! Everything looked great and things are apparently going smoothly. You can watch the whole thing here, and I'll have more about all this in a little while. Until then, back to your regularly scheduled blog post.]
Over the past couple of days, a lot of people are passing this image around, saying it’s from the eclipse Sunday, taken by an astronaut from the International Space Station:
Here’s the thing: it’s not. It’s actually a lovely piece of artwork done in 2009 by a Japanese artist who goes by the name A4size-ska on DeviantArt.
There are plenty of clues to show it’s not real, if you know where to look. For one, the real eclipse was annular, meaning a lot of the Sun was still seen around the silhouetted Moon. That’s not apparent here. Plus, the bright Earth (and Sun!) would wash out the background stars in a picture like this, so you’d not see them, and certainly not the Milky Way (the fuzzy band under the eclipse in the artwork).
The picture is certainly realistic otherwise! The artist notes he used images from the European Southern Observatory; the Earth and Milky Way are both clearly real shots.
If you’re curious about what the view really looked like from the ISS, then here you go: