SOHO Image Anomalies

Analysis of Explanation for SOHO

Image Anomalies given on SOHO Website

A.D. Johnson, Jan 2005

From: sohowww.nascom.nasa….


EIT 195 Å 2001/01/18 @ 16:24 UT

EIT 195 Å 2001/01/18 @ 16:24 UT

EIT 195 Å 2001/01/18 @ 16:24 UT

EIT 195 Å 2001/01/18 @ 16:24 UT

Cut-out of EIT 195 Å image from 2001/01/18 at 16:24 UT, taken from the public SOHO archive, with standard processing & color table. The circle highlights a cosmic ray hit.

Further cut-out, showing the cosmic ray pixels highlighed on the image to the left, with a little different color scaling.

Still the same data, but interpolated (using one of a zillion possible methods) instead of simply resampled as the previous one.

Voila! Finally, after a "touch-up" of the color table, we have what may look like a nice UFO with a glow and exhaust fumes!

See how the same image, having gone through a strikingly similar "enhancement" is used to "prove" the existence of UFOs, in pitches resulting in e.g. this newspaper article (Perth Sunday Times (Australia), 2003/01/19, p. 44). Yes, this was a picture from SOHO, but didn’t show any UFO! We believe similar "enhancements", possibly starting with other types of image artifacts (see below for details), are behind all of the recently published "UFO proof" claims. Claims without the time and date of the picture[s] are close to worthless, because the data processing cannot be verified by others.

 Below is an analysis of these explanations.

Comment on Step 1

They filtered out the background noise in Step 1, without being specific how it was done – what colour scaling was done? Down from how many to how many colours – 256 to 16 or 8? Why colour reduce an image to create a hoax? This throws away data.

Comment on Step 2

The explanations include the words “(using one of a zillion possible methods)”. Here is the definition of a zillion:

zillion zil¢yen, (colloquial)

noun an extremely large but unspecified number, many millions (analogous in formation and use to million and billion).

(from Chambers English Dictionary, 1996 Edition)

They, as scientists, should show more exactly what filter and how it might have been used. They could for example, choose one of those “zillions possible methods” and try to show something more concrete. It also seems reasonable to suggest they may be able to give a more accurate or clear definition of filtering methods that may have been used to produce this effect such as “edge filtering combined with unsharp masking”. The tone of the explanation is one of ridicule rather than trying to apply objective reasoning.

Comment on Step 3

Let us take the Step 1 image and find out the proportion of the dimensions of the image artefact or object:


Up-Down Arrow: 3 Pixels

We can see that the ratio of the height of the centre to the width is

3:9  = 0.333


Up-Down Arrow: 17 Pixels

If we now look at the “Step 3” image, we can take the proportions of elements of this image. Measurement was done in Paint Shop Pro version 5, by selecting areas of the image and examining their size.

17:104 = 0.16 (measurements taken at edge of black halo)

25:110 = 0.22 (measurements taken at edge of yellow halo)

40:130 = 0.31 (measurements taken at edge of red halo)

Whilst this isn’t a firm measurement by which to gauge the final image, because it is unclear if an image filter has been applied, and what filter it is, the ratios do however, seem rather curious. Image filters should not change the proportions of an object in the image all that much (not ones which filter for noise anyway).

The correspondence of these ratios to that of the 1st image is not that good. Also, in the Step 1 image, there is a light coloured pixel to the right. There is not really corresponding light coloured region at the right hand side of the Stage 2 or Stage 3 image.

If this explanation is meant to be illustrative (i.e. one which says “this is the gist of how it was done”), then it is not really a scientific explanation.

There should be a better resulting comparison between the actual images used in step 1 and the actual image in Step 2 and 3. Rather than trying to make a comparison between the stage 1 and stage 2 or 3 images, it would be simpler to say “it is a hoax” because the image enhancement example shown is actually rather meaningless, due to the weak correspondence between the Stage 1 and Stage 2/3 images.

Finally, there are other significantly clearer image artefacts in SOHO’s image database which have only been processed by NASA themselves, so any image processing artefacts have also been introduced by NASA themselves.



The NASA explanation states: “Claims without the time and date of the picture[s] are close to worthless, because the data processing cannot be verified by others.” The above picture has the date and time clearly imprinted in the image.

The conclusion would seem to be that the NASA image analysis and explanation of the anomalies is bogus – particularly when applied to this latest image (above).



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