A series of videos has just been released, on the Tube that is You, of last summer's Secret Space Program Conference in San Mateo, California. I reviewed Mr. Robert Morningstar's presentation hoping to find a catalog # of the image that he has called "Big Ben on the Moon."
Not to my surprise, I had to wade through quite a series of errors and misunderstandings on my way to that goal. Right at the beginning, he covered the famous Brookings Report, getting the date wrong, the title wrong, and utterly garbling the report's main message. I covered that already, in this blog on 22nd January. He still hasn't come up with any examples from what he called "The 1967 edition" and, of course, he never will since there ain't no such animal.
At 52:15, he got around to his most embarrassing error. It concerns the Apollo 10 photograph of the piece of mylar that came adrift during the undocking in lunar orbit.
photo credit: SSP conference video
AM* likes this a lot. So much that he slaps it up front on his Farceboo page. He calls it "The Sentinel," and insists that it's a space station in lunar orbit. The image ID is AS-10-28-3989 and the size of the mylar is about half a metre. Here's AM*'s explanation for why it must be larger.
"See that shadow, on the left?" he says, marching up to the screen and pointing. "That's either the shadow of the Moon or of the spacecraft. But the sun is coming from the wrong direction for it to be the spacecraft, so it must be the Moon. Now, that arc is about ten degrees. Ten degrees is 1/36th of a circle. 1/36th of about 6000 miles (actually 6779) -- the circumference of the Moon -- is 166 miles. This object is about 166 miles in the vertical."
So, unbelievably, this man who calls himself a "civilian intelligence analyst" and an expert in photography somehow doesn't understand that a half-lit floating piece of mylar can have a curving shadow just because of its shape, and can look at the horizontal limb of the Moon and relate it to a vertical shadow. Not only that, but implicit in his logic is that shadows of things must always be the exact same size as the things themselves. Mind-boggling.
I had to wait all the way to 56:28 for the image he calls Big Ben. He said it was from Apollo 17, Mag N, image #2366. Well, here's everything from that mag. Damned if I can see a Big Ben.
Update: 'Trekker' found it, it's from the Mapping Camera, not the Hasselblads. See next thread.
Update 2: I calculated, based on the known fact that the Hasselblad camera had an 80mm lens and a 70mm square frame, that the "space station" would have to have been 2,338 miles away to appear that size, assuming it is 166 miles high.
James, there's no #2366 in that magazine. The numbers, after the 143- preface, are all 5-digit.
And if it's a 'far side' tower, as the caption in this image of his states, how can it be a ground-level photo taken from an Apollo mission? Did he explain that?
Trek: I listened 3 times to make sure I heard 2366 right. I think it's yet another AM* error.
Yep, must be. I suppose we'll never get to know the correct image number!
Here is the Big Ben image, not sure which official slide it's on.
Thanks Chris, but it's the cat# I'm after. He's now saying (on FB) "I never said it was mag N." Sure sounded like it to me, and even if it was M, the same problem applies.
Indeed but at least we can see what Big Ben on the moon looks like. Big Ben leaning to the side with no discernible structure and a glowing, non-circular face. What with this and those apalling tunnels on Mars, I'm surprised these ancient aliens were able to stand upright, never mind leave their world for ours, leaving just sneakers, VGA projectors and large London landmarks in their wake.
I found it, James! It's AS17-M-2366 from the Metric Image Catalog, Apollo 17, Revolution 65.
Looking at the location in the LRO atlas, 'Big Ben' should be in the Mare Marginis, just NE of the crater Neper. Naturally, there's nothing there. (In the Apollo photo, N is to the right)
Big Ben is the name of the bell in the clock tower, not the tower itself. Another error.
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