What’s Wrong with this Picture: Quickie Solar Edition

November 3rd, 2010

People who conduct research on harnessing solar energy often speak of “plugging the Earth into the Sun.”  This metaphor has spawned a bevy of photoshopped images that get pasted into scientific Powerpoint presentations.

When I saw this one at a meeting a couple of weeks ago, something didn’t feel quite right.  It took me a couple of seconds, but I finally figured out the reason for my angst.

(Answer after the jump.  Sorry for just linking instead of inserting the pic into the post.  It’s a GettyImage, and I’m not paying $45 for the right to use it.)


Answer:  For where the Sun is positioned, the illumination of the Earth and the shadows of the cord are wrong.  From our perspective, the Earth should be mostly dark.

5 Responses to “What’s Wrong with this Picture: Quickie Solar Edition”

  1. excimer Says:

    Ummm… I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say THE EARTH DOESN’T HAVE A POWER CORD. And if it did, it’d definitely be one of those 240-volt dryer outlets.

  2. Lisa Balbes Says:

    And if the point is to plug the earth into the sun to get power, shouldn’t the power cord be going towards the sun, not away from it?

  3. Chemjobber Says:

    You know those robots that were taking farming humans as batteries in “The Matrix”?

    If those robots decided to try to sell that battery power, this would be on the cover of the brochure.

    [Okay, maybe I’m weird.]

  4. Fab Says:

    the electrical plug is an american one. Is it that common outside of the US?

  5. Ben Says:

    Why does the plug have an earth pin?

Leave a Reply