Yesterday's solar eclipse was one of the most spectacular in recent memory. So it's a shame that thousands of people were duped into thinking this image — supposedly taken from the International Space Station — was the real deal. It's obviously not, and here's why.

Photo credit: @Shyman33.

As Telegraph science editor Sarah Knapton reports, a Twitter user — possibly @Shyman33 — claimed the photo was taken by ISS astronauts. A subsequent tweet by a teacher was retweeted 12,000 times and favorited by another 7,000.

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But as Knapton correctly points out, there are a couple of things that make this photograph an obvious fake.

First, the Milky Way Galaxy, so conveniently located above the Earth's horizon line, cannot be seen with such clarity, even from low orbit.

Secondly, and perhaps more obviously, if the Moon and Sun were in this particular alignment, then it wouldn't have appeared as an eclipse on Earth! In fact, as witnessed by this spectacular shot taken by French astronaut Jean-Pierre Haignere aboard the Russian Mir space station in 1999, the shadow of the moon should have been visible on Earth (in this case, over Britain and France). According to Haignere, the shadow of the moon measured about 93 miles (150km).

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Photograph: CNES/Jean-Pierre Haignere/EPA.

Sadly, the viral photo was never intended to be a hoax, but a work of art for DeviantArt.

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More at The Telegraph.