Can you see the American flag on the moon? Yes!

Bright Venus (bottom) and Jupiter are joined by the Hyades (right of Jupiter) and Seven Sisters star cluster (top) in the eastern sky at the start of morning twilight today. Photo: Bob King

I got up at 2:30 and casually surveyed the sky while poking around with the telescope till 4. Total meteor count: 0 Delta Aquarids and 2 unrelated meteors. Maybe tomorrow will be better.

Sharing the 50-degree temperatures with the crickets and katydids that inhabit the dewy grass was pleasant enough. Venus and Jupiter along with the Hyades and Seven Sisters star clusters totally jazzed up the eastern sky, and at 4:06 a.m. the space station breezed by. I hunted for the Progress cargo ship along, ahead of and behind the station but never saw it. Did you have better luck?

Apollo 16 astronaut John Young hops while saluting the flag in April 1972. Credit: NASA

The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) keeps on giving. Flying only 31 miles high above the moon’s surface it snapped a set of newly-released photos of the Apollo landing sites that plainly show the U.S. flags planted by the astronauts.

The flag that John Young saluted is still visible in this picture taken by the LRO. The gray-colored blob is the flag; its contrastier shadow to the left is easier to make out. Also seen are the lunar descent module, astronaut tracks, the Lunar Rover and its tracks. Credit: NASA

One of the most common questions asked by the public when we’re looking at the moon through a telescope is why we can’t we see the American flags or any other sign of Apollo with the Hubble Space Telescope. It IS the most powerful telescope, right? Here’s the rub. The smallest possible thing Hubble can see on the moon is about 328 feet across or the length of a football field. While impressive feat of resolution, no Apollo spacecraft comes anywhere near that size. Every piece of man-made hardware is below the space telescope’s resolution limit.

Because of the lighting angle, the Apollo 17 stands out even better than Apollo 16′s. Credit: NASA

The trick to seeing flags and other details is not necessarily a bigger telescope; it’s getting a camera in orbit close to the moon. That’s what the LRO’s been doing for past few years. Its cameras can record objects 1.6 feet across. Lots of things, including lunar descent modules, experiments placed there by astronauts and even their footpaths come into focus in LRO’s eye. And now, the flags.

Astronaut Harrison Schmitt stands on the surface of the moon next to the U. S. flag at the Taurus- Littrow landing site during the Apollo 17 mission. A “half-moon” Earth is visible at top. Credit: NASA

I swear I can see the contrast difference between the stripes and the dark, starry patch and even a hint of the flagpole in the Apollo 16 photo. Pretty incredible!

The only flag we probably won’t ever see is the first one, planted there by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on July 20, 1969. Aldrin reported it was blown over by rocket exhaust as the astronauts left the moon to return to the orbiting command module.

Since the flags are made of nylon they won’t last terribly long under the extreme conditions on the lunar surface. Strong ultraviolet light from the sun has probably already caused the colors to fade. Over a longer time, the flags will turn brittle until one day crumbling into little heaps of dust during a moonquake.

Click HERE for full resolution views of the Apollo landing sites taken by LRO.

 

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , by astrobob. Bookmark the permalink.
Avatar of astrobob

About astrobob

My name is Bob King and I work at the Duluth News Tribune in Duluth, Minn. as a photographer and photo editor. I'm also an amateur astronomer and have been keen on the sky since age 11. My modest credentials include membership in the American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO) where I'm a regular contributor, International Meteorite Collectors Assn. and Arrowhead Astronomical Society. I also teach community education astronomy classes at our local planetarium.

120 thoughts on “Can you see the American flag on the moon? Yes!

  1. i think what i find most offensive is the fact we have sats posted overhead that can make it a person’s bic pen in hand from 100 miles above but we cant have a better image than these from 30 miles above..
    im sure it’s because the LRO is what….antiquated/outdated/been there floating around 40+ years??

    • Doc,
      The flags are incredibly small. The largest object the Hubble Space Telescope can resolve on the moon is about 300 feet across. That’s pretty darn small but much, much bigger than any piece of Apollo hardware. Only the moon-orbiting LRO, when its orbit was lowered to a mere 31 miles, could see such tiny details on the moon. You do bring up a great point however – why not a bigger telescope in orbit around the moon to record details like we can from Earth orbit? Possibly an issue with cost? BTW, LRO was only launched in 2009.

      • Cost? bullocks. Its about priorty. DOD Budgets worldwide are much more interested at, say, making out the resolution of a hand grenade from inside our own mesosphere, or tracking macroeconomic paradigms that we can already accurately predict. Too much time is spent policing one another and maintaining a hegemony of predation as old as time, when something with 1/10 the resolution, just pointed in the other direction could advance cosmology. the optics and the software is already in place. We just need to look out, instead of in. 50,000 psi of c02 for 1:30 cost billions? I think not.

      • c,mon huble can see other galaxies .but it cant see the flag sorry for thinking mmmmm bull. (now that china is on moon and can see no evidence. I dont buy it

        • Sly,
          Hubble can see distant galaxies because they’re many light years across and composed of brilliant, radiating stars. The most distant ones are so far away they look nearly identical to stars. Even you and I can see one of two galaxies with the naked eye alone (and thousands through a telescope) but the stuff we left on the moon is simply too small to see in the Hubble. For instance, I can spot at least 10,000 galaxies in my 15-inch telescope, but the smallest feature I can see on the moon is about 1/2 mile across. Now that’s pretty small much too big for any of the Apollo hardware. Hubble can get down to 300 feet, still much to coarse a resolution to see any hardware on the moon. To get even a halfway decent image, we have to use the hi-res camera on LRO which orbits about 31 miles high. These are the simple facts of life a.k.a. telescopic resolution limits.

  2. While I’m not one of the conspiracy theorists that believe the moon landing never happened, I have always wondered why the flag seems to move as though there was wind even though space is a vacuum.

    • Hi Jason,
      The flag flapped because of the exhaust expelled by the lunar module when it blasted off the surface of the moon on its return to the orbiting command service module. The exhaust and dust were enough to blow the Apollo 11 flag to the ground.

        • Sly,
          The Apollo 11 flag is the only one to blow over from rocket exhaust. The others are still up. Remember, theirs was the first flight and there are lots of variables. It wasn’t easy to get those poles wedged in tight.

          • I am sorry, but could you please explain, why there was no dust or smoke under lunar module, when it lifted off when launched from the surface of the moon? What kind of engine doesn’t produce smoke and even flame under it, only some sparks?

          • Hi Bojan,
            Good question. First, you CAN briefly see the engine firing in the Apollo 17 lunar ascent module liftoff here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5C-sRsXjlC0
            As for the visibility of the plume, the type of fuel used in the ascent module called Aerozine burns very cleanly with only a faint plume especially in a vacuum. Here’s a great article about the liftoff and fuels that will fill you in on more details: http://www.clavius.org/techengine.html

        • Even agencies like NASA and brilliant Astronauts such as Neil Armstrong can make mistakes. In 1999 NASA lost a $125 million Mars Climate Orbiter just because they didn’t convert their units from English to metric. Nobody is perfect.

          • Saber,
            You’re absolutely right. That was a terrible mistake. Officials at NASA admitted the mistake too and took measures to prevent it from happening again.

    • If you’re referring to it waving when they placed it down then that’s easy, it was still moving from when the astronauts placed it. It’s an upside L frame that holds the flag and the top wiggled a bit when being placed into its spot. Nothing difficult to understand unless you’re trying to make it out to more than it was, like the conspiracy theorists.

  3. I love it when you call someone that doesn’t believe the “official story” a conspiracy theorist like it’s an insult. Like all of the things that the government has lied about that was later declassified and showed that they were lying. All the people that doubted those stories were called nut job conspiracy theorists. Like all the radiation testing done on people throughout the country and Agent Orange used against everyone. In every case the conspirator is both parties technically. Although I do not make any claims, I still think that it doesn’t hurt to question the “official story”. Just tell me this, what of the Van Allen Radiation Belt and the absolute lack of radiation protection on all Apollo rockets and the PLSS suits. No radiation fogging on any stills or video footage when in fact even to this day our technology still cannot overcome even 5 rems of exposure, yet, all stills came out crystal clear. So many lighting issues like when they have the sun back lighting a still and the front of an astronaut is still lit up. I dunno, I just can’t find any answers to these questions.

    • Nathan,
      Please don’t suggest the Apollo missions were a conspiracy. I am not going to spend time arguing their reality especially in light of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter photos which I had hoped would finally put this non-issue to rest. Just to touch on your questions:

      * Van Allen Belts: The Apollo astronauts were not only shielded by layers of aluminum within their craft, their passage through the belts was brief and led only to minor radiation exposure within the allowable limits (between 0.16 and 1.14 rads which is well below the limit.) Bottom line – they flew to the moon and survived, many into old age and to this day.

      * True, the sun illuminates one side of the astronauts but sunlight reflected from the surface provides a considerable amount of additional or “fill” light for the other side.

      • Well I do appreciate you taking the time to respond but I don’t know… Will you watch this video? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sKainIQiaKA
        It is a bit long, but I don’t know what to think after I watched it. I really don’t want you to look at anything you don’t want to but it seems like there are so many discrepancies. I am not trying to stir the pot. Please trust I am completely sincere. I have always had my eye to the sky and I am sure you and I have a lot in common. I just want someone who can elaborate with me. Thanks.

        • Nathan,
          It’s so depressing to watch this. I gave up after a while. It hurts to see people, who really don’t know details of the lunar landscape, what it was like inside the Apollo capsule or even who understand the basics of shadows, wheedle away at a great achievement. Just one example – take a look at this photo and you’ll see how utterly incorrect they are about shadows. Notice that depending the distance between you and the object, shadows diverge at different angles exactly as in the Apollo images. Here’s the pic: http://spiritualclarity.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/william-guion-oak-alley-light-and-shadows3.jpg

          • The pic shows clearly how the front most tree is dark, the huge light coming from the back is creating even and parallel shadows, whereas on Apollo 11 pics the astronauts front part were exposed to light as if from a projector

          • Re,
            The shadows are exactly what you’d expect to see on the uneven terrain of the lunar surface with the sun shining. Can you tell me what tree and what astronaut “front parts” you’re referring to?

      • I am Quite sure they had flashes on the camera’s and light’s on the spacecraft tho illuminate any subject they cared to photograph… The Doppler effect alone (from all of the numerous and continuous communication from radio communication and telemetry from all of the vehicles ) would have proven with everyone who had a radio with the frequency shift alone that someone was speeding around the moon at regular intervals. Also Triangulation of radio signals would pinpoint the locations and distances… not to mention telescopes would locate general locations as well. Also if we could have sent suborbital missions and had rockets that could send nuclear payloads why not monkeys and men. Your a smart guy don’t you think if there was a race to the moon and we cheated the Russians/Chinese/world would have screamed foul…My guess is you have seen Capricorn 1 once too many.. Tell me you jest…

      • Frank,
        Probably because of weight restrictions and the fact that a 4-foot-long flag was considered adequate. Erecting a large flag would have likely taken more time (very precious stuff – NASA had those guys BUSY) and accomplished little. Even if a larger flag had been chosen, it would have had to be at least 300 feet across for the Hubble Space Telescope to see it.

          • Perhaps if they had known people would have had such a denying spirit 40 years later Buzz would have shuffled out with his feet or with the lunar rover BUZZ WAS HERE with the tire tracks…. so it could be seen from afar… like some do on the beach… but then some would say it was done by a robot with remote control… why would anyone do that unless they knew people would doubt their story…. You cannot fix stupid…

          • A better option would have been large repeated circuits in the rover so the paths could be seen via a telescope

          • DW,
            A great idea but time was too precious to waste on something so trivial. Plus, it would take A LOT of repeated circuits.

  4. Astro Bob, you have the patience of a saint. We live in a great country but, alas, a crass society. Thank you for shedding additional light on this, one of man’s greatest achievements. Wish there were more like you.

  5. Astro Bob I applaud you, as David said you truly do have great patience. I my self question the so called “official version” of most things the government puts out. I am of the belief that there were six maned missions to the Moon and twelve American Astronauts walked on the Moon and collected sample and photographs. I have been wrong about many things before however. You seem to very knowable about the subject and I have one serious question to ask you If you could find the time to reply. I haven’t been able to find a suitable answer that I find plausible. That my just be my fault for not looking in the right place or not understanding what I’ve read. Could you explain to me why no stars appear in any of the pictures take from the moon?

    • Hi Mark,
      Thank you for your kind words. The answer to your question is easy: shooting pictures on a sunlit moon is much the same as on a sunny day on Earth. The camera shutter speed is very fast because light is abundant. To photograph stars – which are nearly as dim at the moon as they are from Earth – requires a much longer exposure and a tripod. Since the astronauts were photographing rocks, scenes and each other, the exposure times were much too brief to record faint objects like stars which require exposure times of many seconds. You won’t see stars in any of the sunlit pictures of Earth taken from the space station for the same reason. To photograph stars and auroras, astronauts use time exposures and high ISO speeds when they fly over the night side of Earth.

      • Thanks a lot for that. Makes perfect since I should have been able to figure that one out myself since im familiar with the long exposure process used to photograph nebulas, gas clouds and such in space with a telescope. Which I think is basically the same concept with shutter speed and exposure.

        I truly appreciate you response :)

  6. no manned mission to the moon for the past 40 years or so….that is the fact that fuels the conspiracy theories. And why not? Fairly obvious that humanity is not able to mount a manned mission there today, much less 40 years ago with space science in its infancy.

    was there a strong motive to mislead the World? – yes. Was there the capability to fake the missions – yes. Going for a spin around the Earth and faking the rest is entirely plausible.

    • Nagyelme,
      While no landings may sound plausible to you, they nonetheless happened and have given us a bounty of information about the moon. Some of the hardware the astronauts left there still functions to this day and provides valuable data. We haven’t been there since because there’s been no strong desire on the public’s part or the political will. The U.S. changed direction after the moon landings, which accomplished a Cold War goal, and focused on developing the shuttle and space station as well as expanding robotic missions to all sorts of interesting places in the solar system.

      • there is proof that there is far to much radiation in space for a man to survive. The suits they used then had very little if any protection from it. No way they could of passed the van allen radiation belts and that is a fact. Mythbusters said nothing about that.

        • Ken,
          They passed through it and that is a fact. The passage was brief enough – with protection offered by the ship itself – to not kill or injure the astronauts.

          • if we really did got to the moon, why have we not been back and have heard so many rumours of US being warned away, I read the last appollo mission had a (alien) intervention of some sort.

          • Brian,
            We haven’t been back because the support and money to continue were lacking. It was a version of “been there, done that”. Instead plans were set for a more permanent place in orbit with the SkyLab mission and future space shuttles.

        • If Space is filled with deadly radiation, how is Richard Branson and Virgin going to fake taking the general pubic into Space next year? and how are the crew of the ISS still alive?

          • Well all the space walks and space stations have always been inside the radiation belt! They have never,ever gone further than few hundered miles…… Even if you check NASA web page they admit that radiation/flares etc is the biggest problem but what amazes me is that only APOLLO ASTRONAUTS SUPPOSEDLY HAVE EVER GONE THROUGH THAT BELT OUT INTO UNKNOWN SPACE! just think about it the thing which was not a problem for NASA in late 60s , why turns out to be still a major issue in year 2014???

          • Ahon,
            The reason that ONLY the Apollo astronauts have gone through the radiation belts is because after Apollo no other country including the U.S. sent people to the moon or beyond. There is no need to go through the belts or linger there unless you’re on a voyage beyond the Earth. I’m guessing the Chinese will be the next to send someone to the moon. No doubt the moon-landing-hoax-conspiracy machine will be ready to pooh-pooh that as well.

      • First I want to thank you for the blog. I was hoping something like this was available. I was a mere boy of 13 when it occurred and I read all that had been published on it, for the schools, in the years leading up to it. My dad’s bombardier in WW II even worked on the LEM for Grumman. But, name calling and dismissal of the criticism only fuels the minds of skeptics and with an increasingly over reaching govt, willing to lie to the people and spy on us at a whim. It’s no wonder there’s such a complete dis-trust of that same govt & it’s agencies.
        They waste billions sending Hubble up and it can’t even see until it’s repaired. Why not spend a few million to debunk all this and have NASA actually do the debunking. They won’t and the reason is they don’t care as they provide much of the technology for the spying perpetrated on innocent Americans and free nations around the world. NASA like all govt agencies care only about grabbing their piece of the tax dollar pie!!

  7. Myth Busters did an episode on this. Even if you doubt, how can you with people proving the moon landing was actually true?

      • ‘The Lasers Bright Magic’ by Thomas Meloy

        Page 876
        “Four years ago (1962) a ruby laser considerably smaller than those now available, shot a series of pulses at the Moon, 240000 miles away. The beams illuminated a spot less than two miles in diameter, and were reflected back to Earth with enough strength to be measured by ultra sensitive electronic equipment.”

        Many types of signals can be bounced off the Moon, even without any type of reflectors. In the 1950s, Moon-bounce was used to communicate around the curvature of the Earth. If you were in the military and wanted to talk with someone in Hawaii from California, you would bounce your conversation off the Moon.

  8. Anyone who believes we actually landed on the moon the 1960s technology is a fool. It would be the same as putting a rocket on a dart and hitting a bullseye from the US to Russia. There is nothing man made on the moon. If there was flags on the moon they would be bleached white by the sun. This whole thing is b.s.

    • Ken,
      You are correct about the flags. They started out in color but if we could return to see them now, they’d all be white from bleaching in the sun, much like what happens to colored cloth/plastic left out in the sun a long time here on Earth. As for the landings, it’s time to accept the accept the truth they happened and celebrate a great achievement.

      • so why hasn’t the inventors of hubble made a telescope to see smaller detailed objects surrounding our high orbit and lunar surface?????

        • Brian,
          There’s no need to build a bigger telescope to study the moon from Earth orbit. We’re already there with the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter which can take photo of objects 3 feet across from its usual 31-mile-high orbit. See today’s blog for more on the orbiter plus links: http://bit.ly/1az4DpH
          As for high orbit, there is a dedicated telescope facility on Maui in Hawaii that tracks much of the space junk and orbiting satellites. It’s atop Mt. Haleakala at 10,000 feet. By the way, the Hubble can only see objects the size of a football field at the moon’s distance.

          • DW,
            Someone screwed up at Perkin-Elmer, the folks who ground the Hubble mirror, when they assembled a testing device incorrectly. Granted NASA shares the blame, but this was clearly the case of a very unfortunate human error. On the bright side, NASA did the right thing and came up with a fix. The telescope has been doing cutting edge research ever since.

  9. It’s so sad that a young generation of people would find it so easy to consult the internet (or Web) and draw conclusions based on whatever they read (or see).
    Instead…get to work. Pull your pen or pencil (yes! Pen or Pencil, if you know how to use it) out of your pen-protector, grab a slide-rule and use some engineering to solve the problem. Or as an option, put your computer to good use and do the same.
    “We don’t do it because it is easy, but because it is hard.” JFK

    • The leftist govt of the US wants the population dumbed down. It makes for a more compliant and reliable democrat voter. They don’t believe because they were never taught.

  10. wow, you have some amazing patience. but all the conspiracies just go to show how amazing of a feat of engineering the lunar moon landing was. I kinda want to see If i can make a model rocket & lunar rover to reach the mood, a child’s dream I know. but heck, I want to, so I’m going to try, let them call me nuts! and I’ll have my fun, whether I’m successful or not :)

    again, nice article!

  11. What tangible benefit has the General public gained from NASA landing on the Moon or for that matter going into space? Don’t include any new materials like plastics , etc., or any other spin-offs from the Space Program, they could have been developed otherwise given the motivation.

    • Bruce,
      I’m sure other readers will have something to add but for starters:
      * The picture of Earth as a small blue globe floating in the blackness of space
      * Jobs
      * Knowledge not only of how to build better rockets but in-situ study of the nearest alien world
      * 842 lbs. of moon rocks and all we’ve learned about the moon and lunar environment through their study by hundreds of scientists back on Earth
      * Partnerships between NASA and business to commercialize technologies developed during the moon missions including everything from freeze-dried foods to kidney dialysis machines that allow patients greater freedom. These are not trivial spinoffs. There are dozens and dozens more. To discount them by saying we would eventually have discovered this stuff could be applied to every single human enterprise you might deem less than relevant.
      * Gave the nation a sense of self-confidence that if we work hard enough we can accomplish the impossible.
      * Got young kids excited about science and space. I was one of them who got hooked!

      • Well it’s only something a govt could do that’s for sure. Anywhere else they get sacked for wasting that much and having such a tiny effect on humanity. I mean really look how few believe it even happened.

  12. Watched it all on TV live never get bored watching videos again.
    It happened (the landing on the moon) wish I could have been there.

  13. For all you skeptics, I guess since things also accomplished in the same era that have not been repeated recently (in America), that are clearly visible to us, are somehow justifiable. Whether you approve of them or not, the building of nuclear power plants with 1950′s technology should be plenty of proof of what could be accomplished with a slide rule and pen and paper. Plants built back then are still in operation today. How about the building of the Hoover Dam (and many others), the Golden Gate bridge (and many others), the Empire State building (and many others), the lochs built across all our rivers, and finally, the massive interstates that connect all our major cities.

    Our “big business” government today would have no interest in fostering such an endeavor like these. America still has everything needed to accomplish almost anything, yet we sit back and watch the extinction of animals, global warming, mass consumption of our natural resources, and so many other sad things happening today while big businesses hoard money and stagnates our economy.

    I guess as long as we have our video games and cell phones to occupy our minds we will sit back a do nothing, dream about nothing, and take a skeptical view of everything. Perhaps Christopher Columbus was wrong, the world really is flat.

  14. Unbelievable that some people still don’t accept that the moon landings happened. The fact that it was all done with 1950′s /60′s technology only makes it all the more of an achievement for the brave men and women who have risked ( and lost ) their lives to prove it could be done. Some one asked what did it achieve and that was well answered. The broader question often asked is what has the whole space effort done for the human race? Well for a start if our robots had not gone to Venus we would not know half so much about what powers the so called green house effect.

  15. I want to pull my hair out…..folks who cannot accept the idea of moon landings as fact make me crazy. Consider this….the technology used in the 1960′s was very advanced for the 1960′s….you cannot compare technology today to technology back then and say things must not have happened.

    I cannot believe astrobob entertains these statments. Geez. the Egyptian pyrimads must not have been built because 3000 years ago they didnt have the tecnolgoy to move big bricks. Must be a hoax, the space station is a hoax, its all a hoax. My computer is a govt hoax too as is the internet. Wait a minute, in the 1960′s Star Trek used communicators…my cell phone must be a hoax too.

    One word describes this whole situtaion: EDUCATION……we need more of it.

  16. What funny about the tin foil hat brigade is that they choose to ignore hard facts.

    1. If we did not go to the Moon, how did we set up the Lunar Laser Ranging experiment?

    2. If Space is filled with deadly radiation, how is Richard Branson and Virgin going to fake taking the general pubic into Space next year? and how are the crew of the ISS still alive?

    I guess mad men relive what they believe.

  17. I just saw a show on the military channel that said that Neil Armstrong admitted that when they took off from the moons surface, that the flag blew over. so whit gives?

    • Chris,
      You can’t see the shadow of the Apollo 11 flag because it fell over. Flags and the shadows they cast are visible at other Apollo landing sites including 12, 16 and 17.

      • @ Kanman:

        1. Q: If we did not go to the Moon, how did we set up the Lunar Laser Ranging experiment?
        A: Experiments recording echos from lasers targeting the moon have occured since the 1950s. See pg. 876 of ‘The Lasers Bright Magic’ by Thomas Meloy

        2. Q: If Space is filled with deadly radiation, how is Richard Branson and Virgin going to fake taking the general pubic into Space next year? and how are the crew of the ISS still alive?
        A: Every space craft with humans aboard, beginning in 1961 to the present, all have maintained altitudes of one thousand miles well below the Van Allen Radiation Belts. Richard Branson and Virgin will not travel nearly far enought to pass through the deadly Van Allen Radiation Belts. The only space craft alleged to go through the 25,000 miles of those belts was the Apollo.

        • Echos from lasers targeting is nothing like the Lunar Laser Ranging experiment. As one uses reflectors. Clearly you dont know what you are talking about or you are grasping at straws.

          Also the Van Allen Radiation Belts belt begins around 8,400 to 36,000 miles above the the surface of the Earth. Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo will be reaching a cruising altitude of approximately 68 miles. So once more you have been proven wrong.

          The ISS is on the middle of the belt due to its orbit of 25k above the Earth. Again you make no valid points and I really dont think you understated what you are posting.

          I suggest learning about the subject you are speaking on and not just copying and pasting parts of Wiki out of context.

          • Kanman,
            I did not refer at all to the Van Allen Belts or the Lunar Ranging Experiments in the article about seeing the flag on the moon. Perhaps you’ve confused my story with someone else’s. For the record however, the Inner Van Allen Belt extends from 1,000-8,000 miles up; the Outer Belt from 12,000 to 25,000 miles up. The ISS also does not orbit at 25,000 miles as you write but rather 250 miles — well below the Inner Belt.

  18. I too would like to believe the Moon landing was true, I would have called anyone who thought differently a nut, but after some very basic research it all is very questionable now. Even the proof positive Lunar Laser Experiment reflectors. But it too can be explained “The French-built laser reflector was sent aboard the unmanned Luna 17 mission, which landed on the moon November 17, 1970″…still no proof. I have always questions the transmissions, they seem way to clear and nearly no delay, wish you could explain this…thanks

    • Dan,
      Radio transmissions travel at the speed of light. The speed of light is 186,000 miles/sec and the moon is 239,000 miles away from the Earth. 239,000/186,000 = 1.28 seconds. At 1.28 seconds, talk would be just about real time.

  19. As a Navy engineer I saw several big contributions the Apollo program brought to electronics in general. Electronics in the 1950s were unreliable – the Apollo program put an extreme amount of focus on improving reliability simply because building in redundant systems added weight which was the enemy (100 pounds of rocket and fuel to orbit 1 pound payload). NASA developed very elaborate tests to select the most reliable parts and when no commercial products were acceptable, they paid for development of new technologies. The military took advantage of these new products. It became a big deal to have your products selected for spacecraft. This lit a match under the electronics industry that continues today, except huge the profits in consumer electronics is now the driver. An iPhone today contains 1 billion transistors – In 1960 that would have required 3 billion solder joints resulting in an extremely large and totally unreliable product. We wouldn’t have iPads, iPhones, PC, and Plasma screen TVs today if it weren’t for the Apollo program.

  20. Wow, “conspiracy theorists” are amazing. Do you folks think they lied bout the holocaust also? If we didn’t travel in space and land on the moon, maybe there isn’t a Van Allen Radiation Belt either. I mean if we haven’t been out there how do we know for sure there even is a space to explore? Maybe we are in a big fish bowl.

    If the USA fabricated the moon landings and everything that went along with it it would be the most elaborate and useless propaganda stunt ever conceived. And to what end? So we could emerge as a superpower. The Russians beat us into space. Were we supposed to get the stuffed carnival toy for making it to the moon first?

    Face it folks it happened. We have advanced more in the last 75 years or so than we have in recorded history. It isn’t such. Leap to think that we traveled to the moon. Maybe the naysayers think the Mars Rovers are hoax also. I remember watching the original Star Trek as a kid and thinking that the handheld communicators were so cool. Something inconceivable at that time. Now every fifth grader has a smart phone or iPad. Anything is possible if it can be imagined. That is true now and it was true in the 50′s and 60′s.

  21. Viewing the ISS this morning (11/29/13) I noticed a bright object accompanying the station. It was around magnitude 0 or -1. What might that have been?

  22. Thanks for this I applaud you too, as it has been said you truly do have great patience, i have used this to educate my friends who have doubts! keep up the awesome work and keep looking at the skies!

  23. wow a pictue of a dot and a blob yeah that totally proves it i mean of course thats a flag what else could it be? I once saw a black dot about 1 mile out from my house and i knew it was a flag because i read this article which is science and science is always correct

  24. lol you americans really good at fooling people! or shall i put it this way that rest of the world always believes in what ever america says other wise they will be labelled as enemies/fools/illiterates/ …….
    The fact of matter is there is no way we going to find out if they ever went to moon,as all the evidence/videos/pic etc are provided by nasa themselves!
    Only thing which really bothers me is that there is NOWAY they would have taken a risk going through extreme radiations/cosmic rays and extreme temperatures on moon without first sending a monkey/dog to moon other wise ITS NOT HOW SCIENTISTS WORK! At least let conspiracy theorists interview the astronauts???
    well as far as i go i do not think they will/can ever goto moon or above few thousand miles in space due to technology and no protection. Even a close look at the thing they used to apparently land on a moon shows how cheap and thin material being used! Good thing i was not born when all this crap/comedy happened..

    • Ahon,
      And good thing I and many others were alive during the time we sent men to the moon. It remains a magnificent achievement. Maybe someday you’ll be able to appreciate it instead of belittling it.

  25. Dear responder when ever you have time please enlighten us with preperations and rocket(saturn)launch experiments done in 60s and just before apollo moon landing mission… What was the feed back then how successful the test launches were? Who were the major critics?

  26. Why not believe a nation that has killed all important freedom speakers..?! Other thing that puzzles me is how on earth (lol) they could put so many “stuff” up there..and of course not only one picture of the stars..its like going to the great wall of china and say: “oh yeah, its really big ! See this magnified stone i took with my super telezoom lenses from one brick..?! Really bad i didnt take any wide angle lenses with me!…oh well maybe next time….”

  27. Astrobob, thank you very much for this informational banter! I do believe we went to the Moon. I am a fine artist, with firsthand knowledge of layers, shadows, light/dark, etc. I’m also a universally deep thinker, always pondering the unfathomable expanse of dark matter in which our species unbelievably survives within. Staggers me daily.

    I am wondering as the flags have a rod across the top coming from the pole. What is at the bottom portion of these flags, so as the nylon doesn’t rise up on account of the absence of gravity? How were the astronauts able to withstand the searing heat to frostbite cold in their suits? As well as the module to take such abuse and stay at an ambient temperature? I heard it was batteries. Wouldn’t such heat from the Sun continue to escalate within an object during long exposures? Also, being an illustrator and a photographer, how do portions of the cross-hairs in some of the photos appear to be behind and cut off by certain objects? Just curious is all….

    • MoonChild,
      Of course if we hadn’t there would be no Apollo landing sites, all of which were photographed – including the astronauts’ footpaths and instruments they left on the surface – in the past few years by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.

      1. The moon has considerable gravity – at least compared to weightless conditions – which is why the astronauts could walk on its surface. There was never any chance of anything just floating away including the bottom of the flag. You needed a top bar on the flags otherwise they would have gone limp in lunar gravity.

      2. The astronauts spacesuits were built to work within a range of -290 F to 310F, though the astronauts were not on the moon during those extremes. They never experienced the extreme cold of night on the moon (all time spent on the moon’s surface was during daylight) and if I’m correct, neither were they out during full moon when temperatures reached extreme highs. The temperatures when Apollo 11 landed during lunar morning were between 60 and 120 F — moderate. The suits they wore had were white to reflect sunlight and heat and equipped with internal cooling systems.

      3. Ah, the crosshairs. Much nonsense has been cooked up over that one. Here’s the explanation: light white color (the object behind the crosshair) makes the black object (the crosshair) invisible due to saturation effects in the film emulsion. The film particles that ought to have been black were exposed by light from the adjacent brightly lit particles. Ironically, this saturation effect would not happen if the crosshairs were “doctored” in, and so is evidence of genuine photos. Attempting to alter photos that already have crosshairs would make the compositing process far more difficult.

  28. Astrobob, Thanks for sharing the info, I was looking for the size of american flag put on moon bit, after a discussion on lunch table.I saw a bunch of folks here coming up with random data points based on pseudo science. Back in school we had this optics problem to prove how retro reflector work, thats when I came to know about the one on moon. Occasionally, putting a link from mythbuster helps. Keep up the good work! Cheers!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VmVxSFnjYCA

    • Amritanshu,
      Thanks for the link. Sometimes I find it doesn’t matter how much evidence you provide of the moon landings including photos taken of ALL the landing sites by LRO. The conspiracy crowd has often already made up their mind. Sad.

  29. Wow you’re so awesome Astrobob. Thanks a lot for truly enlightening the mind blowing achievement us ‘tiny’ humans managed to accomplish. :)

  30. I didn’t read all postings. But how could we beat the” race”, but still can’t seem to orbit the earth without blowing up?

  31. Your patience is admirable. And although this post is almost 2 years old, I still felt the need to tell you. Awesome write-up and further explanation!

  32. Over a year and the comments keep showing up. I am impressed.

    I came here via a search, wanted to know what I could see on the moon from Earth. Was really hoping, but I’ll take LRO pics.

    About this whole “faked moon landing” thing, some thoughts:

    I once saw a list, can’t find it now, of what astronauts die of. Job related incidents are high on the list. Cancer isn’t far behind.

    These men and women give their lives for this. Space travel is dangerous and there can be long term costs.

    Claiming the moon landing was a hoax is not only silly, because all the evidence says otherwise, it’s a grave insult to everyone who lost someone to furthering humankind’s reach.

    There will always be those who are medically inclined to interesting behavior. I am one of those people. At my strangest there’s not much to do but smile and nod and possibly call the white coat brigade.

    Those who claim the moon landing was a hoax willfully are doing a dis-service to those who worked hard and sacrificed sometimes everything in one of the greatest projects of humankind: Working together to extend our reach beyond our world in as many ways possible.

  33. Other than the obvious proof, the big thing that conspiracy theorists fail at is understanding human nature. You could never get that many people to help perpetrate a hoax that big. Most of those involved would have “come clean” decades ago. But flat-earth Neanderthals just learning how to read and write have to express themselves somehow. Just humor them.

  34. The moon doesn’t rotate on its axis. Its has no days and only the position between the the sun and the earth correct ? Days are the rotation of a planet on its axis ? But anyway, did our current government approve a budget for a new satellite telescope ? Then we would see for sure…

    • Another Bob,
      The moon does indeed rotate once on its axis once every 27.3 days. We do know for sure the flags are there not only because astronauts put them there but we’ve photographed them from very close lunar orbit. No current satellite telescope has near the resolving power of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. While not the largest telescope by any stretch, its proximity to the moon’s surface (about 31 miles) makes all the difference.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>