Occasionally, against all odds, you'll see an interesting or even enjoyable picture on the Internet. But is it worth sharing, or just another Photoshop job that belongs in the digital trash heap? Check in here and find out if that viral photo deserves an enthusiastic "forward" or a pitiless "delete."

Image via Imgur


This week, much of the British press went roight bloody mental over a series of photos taken by an airline passenger who, in the words of The Mirror, "flew directly over a RAINBOW."

"At first I thought it was caused by the polarised plane window or jet fuel vapour," said 51-year-old Melissa Rensen. "I'd never experienced anything like it and I doubt I ever will again."

Of course, contrary to corpuscularist propaganda like The Care Bears, rainbows aren't physical objects, making it somewhat difficult to fly "over" one. In reality, the picture is the result of polarized light meeting a plastic window and a polarized camera filter, as The Guardian explains at length.

The rainbow effects actually visible to the naked eye from planes are still pretty spectacular, and better yet you don't need a camera or a confused science journalist to see them.


This week's second questionably colorful photo comes from Reddit, where an encouraging number of users called bullshit on this picture of China's Zhangye Danxia Landform Geological Park.

As you can see below, the very real rock formations are stunning even without six generations of Instagram-filtering, but not quite the geologic rave pictured above.

Images via Imgur/Shutterstock


If the overly-tidy internal organs, station logo and weird background didn't clue you in, you might have noticed that this "X-ray of a 900 lb. man" currently circulating online looks like fat Tron.

That's because it's from a computer-generated mock-up video commissioned by the UK's Channel 5 for their documentary Saving Britain's 70-Stone Man.

The program follows London resident Keith Martin who, despite what this picture might have you believe, isn't actually a 3D wire-frame model.

Image via Twitter


Entering the viral Internet's bloodstream via Reddit late last week, this picture of Oregon's Mt. Hood is the real thing.

Taken by photographer J Shimya last September, the incredible photo took an equally incredible amount of preparation. Explains Shimya:

I prepared for days to find the correct location to capture this image. I found a church parking lot with a view of Mt. Hood 63 miles to the East. As the sun went down the Moon came up on the North side of the Mountain but as it rose its' curved path placed it right over the top


On Wednesday, serial misattributer @ThatsEarth posted the above photo, purportedly of "Europe by night." As both Gizmodo's Matt Novak and Twitter's @PicPedant have noted, however, the picture actually comes from a series of social media visualizations by mapmaker Eric Fischer.

"Red dots are locations of Flickr pictures," reads Fischer's original caption. "Blue dots are locations of Twitter tweets. White dots are locations that have been posted to both."

Unfortunately, Fischer has yet to map viral photos with misleading captions, but if he ever does we're pretty sure we know what it will look like:

Image via Shutterstock