This gorgeous image is often described as a picture of the sunset at the North Pole, with the moon at its closest point. In reality, this is a work of art -- not a photo -- titled “Hideaway,” and created by artist Inga Nielsen. The scene was intended to be an imaginary celestial place that would be calm and peaceful, and it certainly soothes my mind when I look at it. The giveaway that this really isn’t the North Pole?
According to a professional astronomer on NASA’s site (which also once used this image as their Astronomy Picture of the Day), “The scene could not exist anywhere on the Earth because from the Earth, the Moon and the Sun always have nearly the same angular size.”
The image may not be that far off, though, as the astronomer continued, “the crescent part of the "moon" shown is approximately accurate given the location of the parent star.”
This is truly an example of the fantastic technology out there that allows creative minds to produce images like this. The software used was apparently a scenery generator program called Terragen,™ which you can get for free if you’re interested in using it for personal use.
This striking image is also a reminder, once again, to always dig below the surface before accepting something as reality.