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Hubble cannot see the Apollo artifacts on the Moon.
This question is sent to me roughly once a month, and sometimes even more often: why don’t we shut up the people who think the Apollo Moon landings were faked by pointing Hubble at the Moon and taking pictures of the Apollo sites?
Well, one reason is that, duh, NASA and astronomers have better things to do than try to prove something blaringly obvious to people who would just claim the resulting images are faked anyway.
But also, Hubble cannot see the artifacts on the Moon! They’re way too small.
This surprises a lot of folks, since they’re used to seeing razor-sharp images of nebulae and galaxies. However, remember that while those objects may be far away, they are also very, very big. Light years across, maybe thousands of light years across. The remains of the lunar landers are only 4 meters across. That’s a tad smaller.
Sure, you say, but the Moon’s a lot closer, right? Yeah, it is, but it turns out it’s not close enough.
You can calculate how small an object a telescope can resolve (that is, see as more than just a one pixel wide dot) using really basic algebra. It depends mostly on the telescope’s mirror size. When you do this for Hubble, you get an angular measure of about 0.1 arcseconds, a tiny amount to be sure. The Moon is 1800 arcseconds across, so 0.1 arcseconds corresponds to about 200 meters on the Moon! In other words, something has to be bigger than a football stadium on the Moon before Hubble can see it.
It’s surprising, I know, but that’s how the math works out. The lunar lander is about 0.002 arcseconds in size, well beyond the capabilities of any normal telescope (go to that link above for more info on ways this still might work).
So really, the only — and best — way to see the Apollo artifacts is to go back to the Moon. Of course, the Moon hoax believers will still deny it’s real. Their refusal to see reality is cosmic in its proportions.
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Links to this Post
- Happy Birthday Hubble! at Asymptotia | April 24, 2012
- 22nd Aniversary of Hubble Deployment | ALuRic.net | April 25, 2012
- This Day In History For April 25, Hubble, W-2 and More | Wis U.P. North | April 25, 2012
- Hubble Spies Brilliant Beacons From a Dying Star: Big Pic – Discovery News | Danta Report | April 26, 2012
- Friday Links | April 26, 2012
- An Orion Sunset | David Reneke | Space and Astronomy News | April 27, 2012
- The Week in Review « Tor/Forge's Blog | April 27, 2012
- Astronomy News Round-up « Space « Science Today: Beyond the Headlines | April 27, 2012