Originally posted by s_barrett
How much could one see, if any, of these anomolies with a store-bought telescope, lets say a ~$500 dollar one?
Great thread gang, and that is an excellent question about telescopes Mr. Barrett. I posted this once before, but I think it bears repeating, as it
clarifies your query about spotting structures (or the remnants of the Apollo program) on the moon from down here on Earth.
This is one of the best breakdowns I have ever come across that explains just how badly hindered terrestrial-based optical telescopes are when viewing
the lunar disc due to the perturbative effects of the Earth’s atmosphere.
This comes from a 238-page General Electric (Apollo Support Department)
document written for NASA back in 1963, and although it is 45 years
old, what it has to say regarding the effects of atmospheric distortion on the “seeing” capabilities of optical telescopes (their ability to
resolve objects on the moon) is still entirely relevant today.
From: Survey of the Physical and Environmental Parameters of the Moon
(Chapter 4.1 - OBSERVING THE MOON - pages 51 and 52)
"On average clear nights, images of a celestial point at the prime focus of a telescope are spread out by turbulence to a diameter equivalent to
three seconds of arc. On nights of good seeing, the spread is equivalent to one second of arc, while really exceptional seeing, which occurs only
rarely, results in an image spread equivalent to twenty-five one hundredth seconds of arc. At the moon's mean distance from the earth, these angles
correspond to the following linear distances:
3 seconds of arc - equivalent to 3.48 statute miles
1 second of arc - equivalent to 1.16 statute miles
0.25 second of arc - equivalent to 0.29 statute mile (1530 feet)
"The bad "seeing" sets an insurmountable barrier to observing fine detail, either visually or photographically. The requirements of good
"seeing" are so severe that the best photographs taken with the one-hundred-inch telescope fail to reveal craters less than one mile in diameter. It
is doubtful that the displacement, appearance, or disappearance of a spherical mass of one mile in diameter on some lunar mountain ridge could be seen
on the best photographs of the moon."
So, this gives you some idea of just how naturally obfuscative our Earth’s atmosphere is to even the best optical telescopes, and how you can simply
forget about ANY chance of EVER seeing the flags or LRVs or LM descent stages or anything else that was left up there while you are way down here on
good ol’ terra firma
In fact, from here on Earth through a telescope you would NOT be able to discern if there was a Great Pyramid-sized pyramid sitting on the valley
floor at Taurus Littrow, nor could your eyes ever detect if there was an Eiffel Tower-sized construct proudly standing on the rim of Copernicus. The
“seeing” conditions created by light diffraction and atmospheric turbulence, even in the best/cleanest atmospheric viewing scenario (and even with
a 100-inch telescope!), still leave us incapable of ever achieving the optical resolution required to detect things of that size from Earth.
Bottom line: The only way to see what constructs are there is to rely on the hope that NASA and the DoD have been showing you totally accurate,
unaltered space-based lunar recon imagery over the decades. Always keep in mind that you have no way of ever independently verifying through
terrestrial-based optical telescopes the small-scale accuracy of any NASA lunar near-side imagery. We have to blindly trust that what they show us to
be up there is what is really up there - nothing more, nothing less. For the conspiracy minded among us, that opens up one hell of a door, doesn’t
PS - Here is a link to the original doc if anyone wants to give it a read.