reply to post by Balez
Good morning Balez! Great question. I think I may have an answer for you.
What the camera is seeing (in the experiment on the page you referenced) is every band of the spectrum, all the way from UV to IR. The visible
portion of this spectrum (visible to humans that is) lies somewhere in the middle.
As pertains to the NASA Camera, I'd personally LOVE to see a tech-data sheet on the camera itself, including filters, etc. To date I've not found
one online. If anyone can find one, I'd really love to check it out.
Knowing firsthand about the equipment used in the footage is key to understanding what we see in the footage. It's curious to me that with so much
controversy over this particular mission, that NASA doesn't have an easily findable fact sheet posted on the equipment involved. I'm pretty sure
they know that such info is required for a thorough investigation.
I did happen to find this, a quote from the head of Astrochemistry at Goddard (NASA facility in Maryland). But let me say that I really can't
endorse the site I found it on (Bad Astronomy Forum, Phil Plait is a complete idiot in my view, but he's not the poster here...). I also haven't
studied David Sereda's work in enough depth to understand his arguments. But it looks upon a cursory examination like he's actually conducting
tests to prove his arguments, so that at least is a plus in my book.
Anyway, on to what I found, this is from Sereda's reply to Jim Oberg's (very poorly done) 'debunking' of the STS-75 footage:
"Dr. Joseph Nuth, III, Head of Astrochemistry at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD. He said that the shuttle’s video cameras could
see near UV photons in a letter to me dated April 3, 2000: “Although the camera itself may respond to x-rays and gamma rays (usually as noise), the
optics do not serve to focus on anything but visible and near-UV photons. I would be amazed if the optics were not quartz so that the UV cut-off
wavelength would be ~ 180 nm. If sapphire the cut-off drops to 160 nm and for CaF2 the cut-off is ~ 135 nm.” UV is divided into near, far and
extreme. The near UV is higher in wavelengths frequency than the color violet. It is also invisible to the human eye and spans almost as wide as the
visible light spectrum in wavelengths. Many of NASAs video cameras see well into the invisible Infra-red also. Infrared is lower in wavelength
frequency than the color red."
So my answer to your question in short is, YES, it's possible that the astronauts actually saw these objects, but NO they did not see them as they
appear in the footage.
My extended answer would postulate that we need to know the specific tech data on the camera involved before we can make any sort of determination as
to what these objects would look like in the visible spectrum of light.
Hope that helps Balez, GREAT question!