Blackout Photo: Comments
(most recent posts first)

1.) The original image was NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day for November 27, 2000. Using a mosaic of many DMSP satellite images, NASA made a picture of the whole world in darkness. The explanatory web page is still available at and a 2400 x 1200 pixel JPEG is at . This image is probably the one referred to by Peter Westergaard in his comment dated September 02, 2003. Because it is a mosaic, NASA could have "turned up" the light level in the Midwest as F. DiCesare suggested in his comment dated September 01, 2003. The hoaxer did not do it, as J. Nortworty implied on August 26, 2003.

Just for kicks, I have cropped the NASA photo to the same 511 x 450 pixels that are in the hoax photo. Both of these are attached. If you look at them stereoscopically, you can verify that one was derived from the other.

2.) I have a problem with the two NOAA images which appear on "blackout.html": the time-stamp of "before" is 14 August 2003 0129Z and of "after" is 15 August 2003 0114Z, implying that the two pictures were taken one day minus 15 minutes apart. Your captions, however, state "~20 hrs before" and "~7 hrs after". The numbers don't add up.

You have a great web site. It's better than Hoaxbusters or Snopes.

earthlights  fake blackout
Saturday, November 8, 2003 10:48 PM
Dear Ariel and Jan,
When I said that the Snoopy picture was the 'real' blackout photo, I was being sarcastic.

Saturday, September 20, 2003 at 10:50 AM
Hello!!! First of all the black extends out to far north - AND IT'S IN THE SHAPE OF SNOOPY AND WOODSTOCK. Get real!
Ariel Tsun
Saturday, September 20, 2003 at 10:20:40
If you look at the link that claims to be the actual photo and not the hoax - what is with the last photo on the page claiming to be the real blackout and it's shape is Snoopy and Woodstock? What's up with that?
Jan Moambenino
Saturday, September 06, 2003 at 06:44:06
The 'hoax' image is taken from this composite photo they made a few years back of a 'cloudless earth nightscape'. I remember having a poster of it up on my wall, it was truly a beautiful sight.
Peter Westergaard
Tuesday, September 02, 2003 at 13:48:57
Mr. Notworthy's comment above is correct insofar as the alleged blackout picture shows a brighter Midwest than actually appears from satellite. That picture is similar to a computer-enhanced picture (not showing a blackout) posted on the web several years ago that a friend sent me in which all lights are shown at pretty much the same brightness -apparently to show where all sources of light are. The actual satellite pictures provided by Museum of Hoaxes gives you a better sense that the lights of difference cities differ not only in area covered, but actual brightness. Also, whoever noted in the comment above that the blackout area goes too far south is on the right track. I have relatives in the Southeast suburbs of Cleveland and around Akron, and for practical, personal reasons I confirmed during the blackout that it didn't extend below Akron. It was therefore not even close to being as far south as Columbus. And the crude alleged blackout photo would extend the blackout into the Pittsburgh and upper Ohio Valley area. That area is on a completely different transmission grid, using power generated locally in the upper Ohio Valley, and was not touched at all by the blackout.
F. DiCesare
September 01, 2003 at 20:08:28
NOAA has put a site up that provides real pictures.
Why do I think the image is a hoax?
1) there are no clouds in this image, but there are in the NOAA images.
2) NY is black - not blue - fi you enhance the image it becomes clearer.
3) I think there Geostar went bankrupt after the first two satellites died. I cannot find an entry for the satellite mentioned.
4) The time stamp would likely be in GMT.
5) Not all of the lights were out even when it was at its worst and some areas were back on by this time.

K. Novo-Gradac
Wednesday, August 27, 2003 at 06:44:09
On top of everything else, there's no way the midwest is populated (with lights) the way the hoax picture shows.
J. Nortworty
Tuesday, August 26, 2003 at 10:50:21
BTW the secondary photos taken (7 hrs after the blackout) are not a true depiction either. As montreal was not effected by the blackout but appears to have dimmed as other cities that were effectd.
Some Guy
Tuesday, August 26, 2003 at 10:49:15
You might point out something else on the blackout hoax photo: at 11:15 pm EST it would be only 8:15 in California, and still daylight....
Doug Martin
Monday, August 25, 2003 at 16:26:43
I agree, I thought the blackout photo from outerspace was a hoax, because the section was too dark and too large (it didn't extend beyond Toledo or south of Columbus in Ohio)and also, it didn't cover Canada. If you look, Canada is blue (as you say the blacked-out area should be. I saw those pictures you have in Time Magazine, and they showed smaller dots of light. Still, it is amazing the almost all of Long Island is totally dark!!!
Margaret Geshwilm
Monday, August 25, 2003 at 15:28:43