There is photographic proof of all six moon landings. Images taken by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter mission beginning in July 2009 show the six
Apollo Lunar Module descent stages, Apollo Lunar Surface Experiment Package (ALSEP) science experiments, astronaut footpaths, and lunar rover tire
Aside from NASA, a number of entities and individuals observed, through various means, the Apollo missions as they took place. On later missions, NASA
released information to the public explaining where third party observers could expect to see the various craft at specific times according to
scheduled launch times and planned trajectories.
Observers of all missions
The Soviet Union monitored the missions at their Space Transmissions Corps, which was "fully equipped with the latest intelligence-gathering and
surveillance equipment." Vasily Mishin, in an interview for the article "The Moon Programme That Faltered," describes how the Soviet Moon programme
dwindled after the Apollo landing.
The missions were tracked by radar from several countries on the way to the Moon and back.
Kettering Grammar School
A group at Kettering Grammar School, using simple radio equipment, monitored Soviet and U.S. spacecraft and calculated their orbits. According to the
group, in December 1972 a member "picks up Apollo 17 on its way to the Moon".
On December 21, 1968, at 18:00 UT, amateur astronomers (H.R. Hatfield, M.J. Hendrie, F. Kent, Alan Heath, and M.J. Oates) in the UK photographed a
fuel dump from the jettisoned S-IVB third rocket stage.
Pic du Midi Observatory (in the French Pyrenees); the Catalina Station of the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory (University of Arizona); Corralitos
Observatory, New Mexico, then operated by Northwestern University; McDonald Observatory of the University of Texas; and Lick Observatory of the
University of California all filed reports of observations.
Dr. Michael Moutsoulas at Pic du Midi Observatory reported an initial sighting around 17:10 UT on December 21 with the 1.1-metre reflector as an
object (magnitude near 10, through clouds) moving eastward near the predicted location of Apollo 8. He used a 60-cm refractor telescope to observe a
cluster of objects which were obscured by the appearance of a nebulous cloud at a time which matches a firing of the service module engine to assure
adequate separation from the S-IVB. This event can be traced with the Apollo 8 Flight Journal, noting that launch was at 0751 EST or 12:51 UT on
Justus Dunlap and others at Corralitos Observatory (then operated by Northwestern University) obtained over 400 short-exposure intensified images,
giving very accurate locations for the spacecraft.
The 2.1m Otto Struve Telescope at McDonald Observatory, from 01:50–2:37 UT on December 23, observed the brightest object flashing as bright as
magnitude 15, with the flash pattern recurring about once a minute.
The Lick Observatory observations during the return coast to Earth produced live television pictures broadcast to United States west coast viewers via
KQED-TV in San Francisco.
An article in the March 1969 issue of Sky & Telescope contained many reports of optical tracking of Apollo 8.
The first post-launch sightings were from the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO) station on Maui. Many in Hawaii observed the trans-lunar
injection burn near 15:44 UT on December 21.
A list of sightings of Apollo 10 were reported in "Apollo 10 Optical Tracking" by Sky & Telescope magazine, July 1969, pp. 62–63.
During the Apollo 10 mission The Corralitos Observatory was linked with the CBS news network. Images of the spacecraft going to the Moon were
The Bochum Observatory director (Professor Heinz Kaminski) was able to provide confirmation of events and data independent of both the Russian and
U.S. space agencies.
A compilation of sightings appeared in "Observations of Apollo 11" by Sky and Telescope magazine, November 1969, pp. 358–59.
At Jodrell Bank Observatory in the UK, the telescope was used to observe the mission, as it was used years previously for Sputnik. At the same time,
Jodrell Bank scientists were tracking the unmanned Soviet spacecraft Luna 15, which was trying to land on the Moon. In July 2009, Jodrell released
some recordings they made.
Larry Baysinger, a technician for WHAS radio in Louisville, Kentucky, independently detected and recorded transmissions between the Apollo 11
astronauts on the lunar surface and the Lunar Module. Recordings made by Baysinger share certain characteristics with recordings made at Bochum
Observatory by Kaminski, in that both Kaminski's and Baysinger's recordings do not include the Capsule Communicator (CAPCOM) in Houston, Texas, and
the associated Quindar tones heard in NASA audio and seen on NASA Apollo 11 transcripts. Kaminski and Baysinger could only hear the transmissions from
the Moon, and not transmissions to the Moon from the Earth.
Paul Maley reports several sightings of the Apollo 12 Command Module.
Chabot Observatory calendar records an application of optical tracking during the final phases of Apollo 13, on April 17, 1970:
Rachel, Chabot Observatory's 20-inch refracting telescope, helps bring Apollo 13 and its crew home. One last burn of the lunar lander engines was
needed before the crippled spacecraft's re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere. In order to compute that last burn, NASA needed a precise position of
the spacecraft, obtainable only by telescopic observation. All the observatories that could have done this were clouded over, except Oakland's Chabot
Observatory, where members of the Eastbay Astronomical Society had been tracking the Moon flights. EAS members received an urgent call from NASA Ames
Research Station, which had ties with Chabot's educational program since the 60's, and they put the Observatory's historic 20-inch refractor to work.
They were able to send the needed data to Ames, and the Apollo crew was able to make the needed correction and to return safely to Earth on this date
Corralitos Observatory photographed Apollo 14.
Paul Wilson and Richard T. Knadle, Jr. received voice transmissions from the Command/Service Module in lunar orbit on the morning of August 1, 1971.
In an article for QST magazine they provide a detailed description of their work, with photographs.
Jewett Observatory at Washington State University reported sightings of Apollo 16.
At least two different radio amateurs, W4HHK and K2RIW, reported reception of Apollo 16 signals with home-built equipment
Bochum Observatory tracked the astronauts and intercepted the television signals from Apollo 16. The image was re-recorded in black and white in the
625 lines, 25 frames/s television standard onto 2-inch videotape using their sole quad machine. The transmissions are only of the astronauts and do
not contain any voice from Houston, as the signal received came from the Moon only. The videotapes are held in storage at the observatory.
Sven Grahn of the Swedish space program has described several amateur sightings of Apollo 17.
edit on 12-10-2018 by jtrenthacker because: (no