One hour after I posted it, a commenter's URL convinced me that the photo is fake. See the featured comment below the post.
But you still want to see what I wrote before that, right? ;-) Here it is.
The MH17 aircraft was shot down above Eastern Ukraine on July 17th around 13:20 UTC. A ground-to-air missile or an air-to-air missile are the leading "technical" explanations of what happened. The ground-to-air missile theory (probably using a Buk missile; recently vaguely endorsed by the German intelligence) would leave the question "who did it" and "why" open. The air-to-air missile theory would have clearer implications – the post-Maidan Ukrainian government would be behind it.
Click the picture for a 7406 x 5000 very high resolution photograph.
Hours ago, ITAR-TASS (and later The Daily Mail and a helpful blog; I know it from the Czech media) brought us the photograph above.
It was shown on Russia's TV Channel One: see the clip. George Bilt or George Beatle or George Bild, an MIT alumnus, said that he got access to this satellite photograph coming from the U.K. or, more likely (because of the time format etc.), U.S. intelligence agencies. The picture was taken at UTC 1:19:47 on July 17th, see the bottom of the image above. The timing is compatible with some basic stories you may see on Wikipedia, too.
The small rectangle on the left side of the image is magnified and shows Mig-29 or SU-27 (can you tell which one?) that is just shooting a heat-seeking missile (a visible line is on the picture) in the direction of the unlucky Boeing 777-200 that tried to get from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. (Previously, the air-to-air theories would try to work with an SU-25.) It may have been the last second when the Boeing was OK. Note that in previous comments, it was believed that
It seems rather clear to me that the U.S. intelligence agencies have to possess actual photographs of what happened at that moment. It has always been puzzling that they didn't show us to them. It's especially puzzling if you assume that these photographs show that Novorussia or Russia was behind the shotdown.
This could be the actual picture.
Aside from the conceivable timing, the image seems to pass several other tests. Note that all the airplanes as well as the structures on the ground should be shown with the same scale – because the satellites are de facto infinitely far away. And the Boeing should be at the right place and flying in the right direction.
The image seems to pass these tests.
It doesn't prove that it's not a photoshopped image. But if it is a photoshopped image, its creator did his homework. I think that in that case, he or she would have to be a pretty good professional.
Even in that case, there should exist methods to show that this is a forgery. One could analyze the picture in some detail. Alternatively, the U.S. agents should be able to show us what was actually happening above that area at UTC 1:19:47 on July 17th – because they almost certainly know it, don't they?
I am still uncertain – this picture may get disproved in coming hours or days or weeks. But if time continues without any negative evidence, my personal belief that this picture is legitimate will increase towards 100 percent.
Note that if the "Kiev's official aircraft did it" theory turns out to be relevant, one still faces the question why they did it. And things like the assassination attempt against Vladimir Putin would have to be seriously considered.
The photograph is said to have been "around" since October 15th and obtained through Russian Wikileaks.
If you're able to tell us something new about the event or the image file, it will be appreciated.
Is this precise jet fighter the one that downed MH17?
Interestingly enough, I was trying to find the right SU-27 or Mig-29 that has the same coating as the fighter jet on the satellite photograph, and I actually believe that this is the one. Do you agree?
To compare, I also added the picture above – which is taken from the satellite photographs, with some increased contrast, reduced brightness, increased blue brightness, and rotated by 110 degrees counterclockwise. Do the patterns match as much as the poor resolution allows?