Astronomy Picture of the Day

Forums General Discussion Fake astronomical images Astronomy Picture of the Day

Dominic Ford

When we were talking about this at the Winchester weekend, someone raised the question of what images Astronomy Picture of the Day should or shouldn’t use.

I think yesterday’s image is a rather unfortunate example: <>.

Of course, any astronomer knows this is an artist’s impression. And the discovery of this exoplanet is a big news story that NASA will have wanted to cover. So perhaps with suitable warnings attached, it was reasonable for NASA to choose this (wildly speculative) artist’s impression.

But the general public does not know this isn’t a real observation. Most media outlets were well-behaved in making very clear that this image isn’t to be taken too seriously, so it seems extremely unfortunate that NASA say nothing at all.