View Full Version : Move this if it's wrong!

2002-Apr-08, 10:05 PM
I don't know whether I should be posting this here as it's about the Hoax, and the ONLY place the hoax can be discussed is in the Hoax section. Trouble is, it's also about the book, which has the hoax in it, so you see my dilema?

Anyway, on page 169 (1969? Numerologists take note), there's the famous picture of Aldrin standing in what seems to be a pool of light. The explaination for this is the backscatter of light from the Sun. The problem with this is that the Sun is in front of the camera in this picture, behind Aldrin and to the right, so it can't be backscatter. Jay and I have pondered this one a lot, and I was convinced that the pool of light was created from light reflecting off the back of the LM, from the big shiney flat polished aluminium back of the ascent stage. I can't remember if we reached an agreement on this, but the angles look right to me. What do folks think about this explaination?

The Bad Astronomer
2002-Apr-09, 02:27 PM
I noticed this as well. The pool of light, to me, looks like it is coming from the ground that is sloped away from the camera, which means that ground is facing the Sun more than the flat ground around it.

Take a look at the ground right behind Aldrin and to the right a bit. It is the brightest spot in the image, and it is clearly part of the raised rim of the depression next to which he is standing. Everywhere the ground is bright, it's sloped toward the Sun. I think we are just seeing ground that is better illuminated.

I guess this means I was wrong in the caption; the spotlight is not from heiligenschein, it's just a geometric effect. Bad example. The spotlight effect is real and as I described it, but now I doubt that's what we're seeing in this particular image. You need to be looking downsun to see it.

2002-Apr-09, 02:41 PM

The caption on page 169 doesn't mention heilgenschein, but the explanation on page 170 does. I thought the heilgenschein explanation was of the halo around Aldrin that is visible in the reflection in his helmet. I just reread those couple pages, and it seems that that is the case--the passage on page 170 mentions that you can see this yourself looking at your own shadow--but maybe it could be made more clear.

The Bad Astronomer
2002-Apr-09, 02:50 PM
Oops. Okay here's the scoop: the caption just says "spotlight effect" without saying where it is. Let's say I got it right, and I meant in the helmet (that's actually possible; I would need to check my notes on that-- I wrote that chapter nearly two years ago!). That spotlight effect is seen at the head of Aldrin's shadow reflected in the helmet. SO I guess I was right! /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_wink.gif

2002-Apr-12, 10:21 PM
If we look at the picture...


...we can see what the ground is doing. Aldrin seems to be stood in a hole. Notice that the footprints have similar bright spots.

The previous image...


...show him moving to the spot where the famous piccy was taken. I can't really tell what the ground is doing, even in this image.

Looking at this picture...


... we can see where Buzz was standing viewed from a side angle, and the ground looks dark, dismissing the notion that the groung was somehow intrinsically brighter in that area. We can see that the back of the LM, with the shiny panel, is too 'sideways on' to have lit the ground around Aldrin's feet. I guess we need some more thought put into this. I think the BA might be right, that some combination of ground angle, sun angle, camera position distance may have contrived to light up the ground specifically in the central region of the photo. If the 'backscatter' is caused by the spherical glass beadiness of the lunar soil particles, and if I remember correctly from looking into how rainbows work, that such objects can have more than one 'prefered' angle of refraction or reflection, than maybe that explains this phenomenon?

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: johnwitts on 2002-04-12 18:23 ]</font>

2002-Apr-13, 10:33 AM
I suppose the “pool” of light at Aldrin’s feet could be caused by light refraction of the spherical glass particles in the soil but I have a problem with it. I couldn’t find the link to heilgenschein on clavius.org that discusses the “glass beads” in the lunar soil so I’m going on memory here. I thought that the particles acted in a very similar manner to the way that the retro-reflective paint used on roadways works (for paint and epoxy markings - spherical glass beads are spread over the markings before curing) and I’ve never seen any significant sunlight refraction from these markings unless the sun is at a low angle behind me. The fact that the soil is more of a 3D structure, that could alter the optical properties though.

Looking at the second photo John posted, where the ground is much brighter to Aldrin’s left, could that be caused by reflection from the LM Ascent module? I don’t necessarily agree that the panel on the ascent module is too sideways to have reflected light around Aldrin’s feet. The bright area of soil in the second photo sure looks like where you would expect to find a reflection from the ascent module.

On the other hand, if the “light pooling” is caused by reflection of light from the ascent module why don’t we see its affect in the third photo.

I seem to have talked myself back to square one with this post, but maybe it will spark an insight for someone else.

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: SpacedOut on 2002-04-13 06:40 ]</font>

2002-Apr-13, 03:31 PM
I was doing some thinking on my home from work and could I have hit on a possible answer by accident in my last post. Does the rear panel ascent stage, as seen in photo 3, act in a similar fashion to a car’s headlights in my retro-reflective pavement marking analogy?

It is very difficult to get comparative angles from stills – but it does appear that the planes of the camera and rear panel of the LM ascent stage are nearly parallel in the first two photos. This would also account for the lack of a bright area in photo 3.

Therefore – “heilgenschein” would indeed be the correct answer as to why Buzz Aldrin seems to be standing in a pool of light!!

Or, am I as “daft as a brush”?