A set of four pictures which claim to show the recent Aurora Borealis, also known as Northern Lights, in Ladakh is going viral on social media platforms.
(More archives to similar claims can be found here and here.)
What is the truth?: We found that all the images seen in the viral claim are old stock photos which were not taken in India.
While the first three images show the Northern Lights in Norway, the fourth one is from Iceland.
While aurora-like lights were seen in Ladakh in the night between 22 and 23 April, all these photos predate the event.
How did we find out?: We performed reverse image on all the images seen in the viral claim and found them on stock websites.
We found the first image uploaded on stock photo website, Alamy.
The image was uploaded on 23 March 2018.
Its caption said, "Aurora borealis (Northern lights) over mountain with one person at Skagsanden beach, Lofoten islands, Norway."
A comparison between the first image and the one uploaded on Alamy clearly shows the similarities.
We came across the second image on 31 January 2015 on Alamy.
It was captioned, "Northern lights, Lofoten, Nordland, Norway."
It also mentioned the name of the photographer as 'steinliland'.
The Quint has reached out to the photographer and the report will be updated if and when a response is received.
On comparing the second image with the one uploaded on Alamy, we found they are the same.
The third image was also available on Alamy.
It was uploaded on 7 March 2017 and the image's location mentioned Tromsø, which is a city in Norway.
When we compared both the images, we found that they are the same.
We came across the fourth image uploaded on Getty Images.
The picture's caption said, "Spectacular Northern Lights over Kirkjufell Mountain Snæfellsnes peninsula, near the town of Grundarfjörður Iceland."
While we could not find the exact date of the picture, we found a blog from February 2017 which used the same picture as seen in the viral claim.
When we compared the viral image with the one uploaded on Getty Images, we found that both of them are the same.
What about the Northern Light in Ladakh?: Ladakh's Hanle observatory sources said that the lights appeared to be a stable auroral red (SAR) arc and not a conventional aurora, Times of India reported.
The event is still being analysed.
A band of reddish light is seen in the sky in case of an SAR arc.
Indian Institute of Astrophysics, on their Twitter handle, shared a time-lapse video of the sky taken from Hanle on 22-23 April, which showed aurora lights.
Conclusion: All the images are old and were not taken in Ladakh, making the claim misleading.
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