A stunning photo of the sun setting over the North Pole… or is it?

Yesterday, I saw an interesting tweet from EarthPix with one of the most beautiful photos I’d ever seen. A stunning sliver of moon looming giant over a minuscule sun, beautifully reflected in the crystal water below.

'Hideaway' by Inga Neilsen

I was stunned by this photo and how beautiful earth can be… but perhaps it’s too good to be true?

As it turns out the image above isn’t a photo at all, but an amazing piece of art by Inga Nielsen called Hideaway. Inga clarifies:

After someone spread it on the web as photograph of a “Sunset at the north pole”, this image became quite popular. It is of course not a photo and it does not show a place anywhere near the terrestrial north pole. Side note: the moon sets in that angle towards the horizon only close to the terrestrial equator. This is because Earth and Moon share the same plane of rotation around the sun.

It’s funny how the Internet can take an image and run with it, losing all sense of what it truly is. Hideaway was posted back in 2007 and yet still it’s being posted as if it’s a real photo. Inga was able to render this piece with such clarity and realness that it’s probably fooled millions at this point.

Also, Phil Plait over at the Discover blog has a great breakdown of why the piece could never take place on Earth which is pretty amusing and certainly worth a read.

April 15, 2013 / By