Old, Unrelated Pictures Shared as ‘Aurora Borealis in Ladakh'

We found that while the first three images show the Northern Lights in Norway, the fourth one is from Iceland.

4 min read
Old, Unrelated Pictures Shared as ‘Aurora Borealis in Ladakh'

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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.

An archive of the post can be seen here.

(Source: Twitter/Screenshot)

(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.


How did we find out?: We performed reverse image on all the images seen in the viral claim and found them on stock websites.

Image 1

  • 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."

The image was uploaded in 2018.

(Source: Alamy/Screenshot/Altered by The Quint)

  • A comparison between the first image and the one uploaded on Alamy clearly shows the similarities.

A comparison clearly highlights the similarities.

(Source: Alamy/Screenshot/Altered by The Quint)

Image 2

  • 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.

The image was uploaded in 2015.

(Source: Alamy/Screenshot/Altered by The Quint)

  • On comparing the second image with the one uploaded on Alamy, we found they are the same.

A comparison shows that both the images are the same.

(Source: Alamy/Screenshot/Altered by The Quint)

Image 3

  • 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.

The image was uploaded in March 2017.

(Source: Alamy/Screenshot/Altered by The Quint)

  • When we compared both the images, we found that they are the same.

A comparison between both images clearly highlights the similarities.

(Source: Alamy/Screenshot/Altered by The Quint)

Image 4

  • 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."

The location of the picture was near Iceland.

(Source: Getty Images/Screenshot)

  • 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.

We found both the images are the same.

(Source:  Getty Images/Screenshot/Altered by The Quint)


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.

The report was updated on 7 May.

(Source: Times of India/Screenshot)

  • 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.

(Not convinced of a post or information you came across online and want it verified? Send us the details on WhatsApp at 9643651818, or e-mail it to us at and we'll fact-check it for you. You can also read all our fact-checked stories here.)

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Topics:  Ladakh   Fact Check   Aurora Borealis 

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