Originally posted by turbonium1
I don't know if that image of cars is from an airplane or by satellite in orbit.
But let's say it was from an airplane, as claimed. What is the point?
That it can't be done (as well) by satellites?
It can be done, and even much better.
Not any for the moon?
Smells kinda fishy to me...
Let me try to explain this one.
First off, please allow me to put forth a few qualifications...don't take this as an "argument from authority", because it's not intended as
anything of the sort.
I've got a bachelor's degree in physics, with about 30 hours of elective courses in optics.
I worked for a year and a half as an assistant to a professional photographer, so I've had some hands-on experience with camera work and film
I'm an amateur astronomer, and I've ground the mirrors for five reflectors between 4" and 20".
Does this make me the God of Optics? Not by a long shot. By all means, research anything and everything I say to your heart's content.
Now that that's out of the way, let's get down to brass tacks.
Aerial photography vs satellite photography: While orbital cameras can do some amazing things, they have limits that are imposed on them, not by some
Cabal of Hidden Mysteries, but by the physics of the situation. For any given camera system, there are distinct limits on its resolution. Those limits
are determined by the size of the camera aperture, available light, and distance from the subject. In plain English, if you take two equally good
cameras, put one in orbit 100 miles up, and the other one in a Cessna flying at 1,000 feet, you're going to get better photographs from the Cessna,
just based on distance. Add in atmospheric distortion, and the situation gets even more 'interesting'. In other words, contrary to popular belief,
an orbital spy satellite isn't going to be reading the New York Times front page. Unless we can change the laws of physics, and eliminate the
atmosphere, it's just not going to happen.
Satellites DO have the advantage of being able to see everywhere on the Earth's surface, which is why they're so useful to the military for
intelligence gathering, but if you want really high-resolution photography, you need to get close.
How does all this apply to photographs of the lunar surface?
For one, the distance issue. Even the best cameras we can practically make aren't going to resolve something the size of a Lunar Module descent stage
from 240,000 miles away. It would be like spotting a pea from across the state of Arizona. The resolution just isn't there.
For another, there's a problem with film saturation. The Moon is a surprisingly reflective object. If you doubt that, go outside on the night of a
full moon, and look up. Please note that you don't have to work to pick the Moon out of the stellar background. Trying to photograph things on the
surface means striking a balance between longer exposure (to get more detail and clarity) and background saturation. This is the main reason that the
Hubble telescope can't get photos of the Apollo hardware.
For yet another, there's that atmospheric distortion problem again.
Believe me, I really, really, really wish I could point a nice 20" long focus scope Up There and get snapshots of Apollo, but it's just not
When I've had either more sleep or more coffee, I'll be more than happy to provide you with links to (and / or examples of) all the math to back
this up...or you can find it via Google, or your local library (I have a fondness for hard copy). Just remember to question everything...on *both*
sides of a conspiracy.