A “new” pink and blue planet is not real (sadly)

21 January 2021
What was claimed

These images show a recently discovered new planet.

Our verdict

These are computer-generated images, not photographs of a planet.

A number of people on social media have been sharing pictures of “a new planet” that they say NASA recently found. One person claims that it is a planet called TOI 1338 b.

Sadly, although real new planets are being found all the time, these pictures were artificially generated by software here on Earth. (By a student at the University of Nevada, in fact.) One of the images being shared was posted on the student’s website in January 2019, several months before TOI 1338 b was discovered.

There are some very beautiful close-up photographs of the planets in our solar system. Pictures of more distant “exoplanets” do not yet show so much detail. They generally look more like this photo of the star TYC 8998-760-1 (top left), with two giant planets beneath it. 

Credit: ESO/Bohn et al.

This article is part of our work fact checking potentially false pictures, videos and stories on Facebook. You can read more about this—and find out how to report Facebook content—here. For the purposes of that scheme, we’ve rated this claim as false because this is not a picture of a real planet.

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