Fake Moon landings?

I was reading a book by comedian/actor Richard Belzer recently; and he entertainingly “rants” about the faking of the Apollo Moon landings. Specifically, he mentions the lack of stars in the night sky of the Moon–due to NASA knowing it couldn’t fake out astronomers with bogus star placement if stars were present in the faked photos, and astronaut shadows that indicate more than one light source. Why aren’t stars visible in the Moon’s night sky in those famous photos of the “big blue marble” hanging above the Moon’s horizon? I mean, how much did it cost to put the Hubble up where there’s no interfering atmosphere? And astronaut shadows pointing in different directions? Is this due to the optics of the cameras used or were tax dollars paying for Vietnam (or other things the public didn’t need to know about)?

As for why no stars are visible, in case you haven’t noticed, stars are faint. You can only see them if there’s not much other light around. The lunar surface in direct sunlight is more than bright enough that the camera couldn’t pick up any stars.

That’s also why I guffaw everytime I see a Star Trek episode where someone’s standing in front of a window in a brightly lit room, and they’re looking out at the stars. Go to your living room window one night, and see how many stars you can see with the room lights on.

i only have a few photos of lunar landings here,no double shadows.How bright is earthlight?

Lumpy, I see your point about a bright foreground masking a dim background (any photographers out there, please chime in about this as it relates to the OP), but what about any photos taken from lunar orbit without the lunar surface in the foreground. I’ve seen the night sky from locations where the nearest man-made light was miles away. Amazing, how many stars are visible! I can’t recall seeing any photos of the Earth hanging in a starry backdrop from the Apollo missions; I think it would look dramatic. Surely, there was a time when the lunar orbiters were between the Moon and the Earth and taking pictures of the Earth. Does anybody know a website or any other sources where we can see them? Mr john, with the lunar surface being lit up by the sun, I’m not sure that Earthlight would cause a second shadow of equal density. Time/Newsweek magazines (one or the other, probably both) had an article about the 30th anniversary of the Apollo program recently with accompanying photos.

Mr John

I read an article a while back stating the Earth is 67 times brighter than the moon.

The article itself explained away all the supposed evidence of a faked moon landing, sorry I can’t remember the source.

647, with the Earth being as bright as this and the Sun could this explain the the astronaut shadows pointing in different directions?

There must have been something in the foreground! What was the picture of? It it was just of stars, then they would surely be in the picture, and if of something else, then almost just as surely they’d be too faint!

There was such a book written in 60’s all about this although I don’t remember the name.

The only thing that gets to me about the moon landing was that we never went back to the moon again. Which makes me suspicious.

Okay, I’m gonna weigh in here because there is an aspect of this issue that was the original reason I started posting to the snopes board.

I don’t know about why stars don’t appear in the photo of Earth from lunar orbit, but the explanations provided seem reasonable to me. What I am interested in learning about is what I call “shadows in space” (which, as you might expect, got me a lot of ribbing vis-a-vis ‘Babylon 5’).

Anyway, what I wondered about was something I also noticed in film clips taken during the Skylab program: the object in the foreground seemed to be throwing a distinct shadow against a background object which your ‘common sense’ tells you should not be visible, because the background object is many miles distant. In the case of the Apollo program, I recall seeing several instances where the lander is dropping away from the command module and the shadow of the lander seems to be being cast quite sharply against the lunar surface some 50-60 miles distant. You get the impression that, if someone were back on the lunar surface, their view of the sun would be as completely blocked out as if an eclipse was taking place. Someone once explained this as an artifact of internal reflection within the camera, but the more I consider that, the less likely it seems.

Is there anyone here with a background in photography and optics who can explain this clearly enough for me to understand? Better yet, if someone knows of a website where a video of this effect can be had, I’d be very grateful. I’ve been looking as time permits for months, with no luck. Every NASA or JPL website I’ve checked has proved fruitless.

In re very sharp shadows off in the far far distance - there’s very little atmosphere on the Moon to scatter light. I’d be more suprised if the shadows weren’t razor-sharp at long distances. That would indicate an atmosphere, therefore a faked picture. Shadows in space, or in near-vacuum, don’t just fade out. They keep going until something stops them, or an alternative light source illuminates them out of existence.

Eloise the SF geek.

Let’s also think about the light on the Apollo capsule itself, or the light on the camera. It must have been very bright, and very crisp. And the resolution of the camera? All these would be important factors to consider.

You can put your mind at ease then. There were five more Lunar missions after Apollo 11.

Eloise, the effect of atmospheric scattering hadn’t occurred to me; however – and this is the difficulty in describing this thing – the shadow that is cast seems undiminished in size even at the distance to the lunar surface – i.e., it looks as though the shadow is covering a couple of square miles of the lunar surface (assuming that the surface is 50 miles distant at least). The apparent thing your mind ‘tells you’ is that whatever the shadow is being cast against isn’t more than a few hundred feet distant. And that’s the conundrum.

But thanks anyway.

I’m always amazed by people who think the government can keep fake moon landings, assassinations and dead aliens secret for decades, when they can’t even keep one blow job secret for six months!

Flora, I’m actually impressed with the government’s secret-keeping in this area. Of the doubtless thousands of blowjobs over the past 6 years, only a tiny fraction of them have become public.

Agree with you on the other stuff, tho. :slight_smile:

This is not an offer to agree or disagree with opinions, which may be done only by a current prospectus.

Ok, time to put up or shut up. “I think I once saw a dubeous picture” ain’t cutting it. Lets see the picture.

The “no stars” seems to be easily explaind by the fact that the moon has no atmosphere to block the suns energy, and no vegitation to absorb it, and is therefore the surface is really, really brightly lit. But lets see these bogus shadows.

re: shadows & stars, the term we want is “albedo”, and Earth & the Moon are both well into the 90th percentile there–or were those heavily tinted visors just to hide the “actors’” faces? Gimme a break–it probably would have cost as much & been as difficult to fake it as to do it!
–Alan Q

Didn’t the Apollo astronauts leave reflectors on the moon that anybody with the right equiptment (like the Russians) can bounce a signal off of? If the hoax theory was true I can’t think of anybody who’d be more anxious to confirm it than NASA’s rivals in the USSR.

Cecil referred in one Straight Dope book to a volume titled “Rumor.” in it the authors said that “the moon landings [the first one, of course, was July 20, 1969] came at a time when many people objected to this country’s presence in Vietnam, and many were ready to doubt any official announcement.” And the Watergate scandal in 1972-74 didn’t help, either.

As for what the pictures actually show, let’s see the pictures before saying what’s really going on. But until then, I have some thoughts.

Re the brightness of the earth on the moon: just look at the crescent moon a day or two before or after new moon. The unlit part of the moon’s surface can be visible from earthshine. It can’t get any brighter than that because this is the time there would be nearly a “full earth” in the moon’s skies. A shadow from such dim light would be almost totally swamped by sunlight.

I think the shadows just look sharp because they’re so far away from the viewer. If you were close to the shadows themselves, they’d look pretty fuzzy.

I think the size of the light source and the distance the object is from its shadow are the greatest influences on how sharp shadows are. On a sunny day here on earth, the shadow of your hat or head or the top of a lamp post is fuzzier than the shadow of the top of your shoes. This is because the sun is not a point source of light and your shoe tops are very near the ground.

This is also why there is a penumbra and an umbra during a solar eclipse. We can compare this to the shadow of the top of the lamp post: the fuzzy area is the penumbra, from which part of the sun can be seen.

The scattered light coming towards you from the sky is another light source. Because it is so large, there is an umbra in your shadow only for parts of you very near the ground.