I was made aware of a new hoax by a faithful reader of this blog. Apparently NASA and the government have been hiding the fact that astronomers have been watching a fleet of black L-shaped craft through their telescopes the past two years. Last January they “disappeared” off radar near the orbit of Mars and then suddenly reappeared briefly near the moon before finding a hiding spot inside a small crater on the lunar farside.
The report, along with an interview with one “Dr. Eric Norton” (not his real name), appeared on the hoax-happy Turner Radio Network website on Jan. 20 under the headline “Visually Confirmed: Enormous Craft Detected on Moon”. It’s also seen in this youtube video and described as an alien base related to a similar triangle-shaped feature in Antarctica. Those aliens sure know how to find good hiding places!
The “craft”, which appears as a perfect triangle of dots, lies inside a crater as big as the city of Chicago (234 square miles) on the farside just south of Mare Moscoviense, the Sea of Moscow. The article gives the coordinates as lunar latitude 22042’38.46N and longitude 142034’44.52E, but they’re not written correctly.The actual coordinates are 22°42’38.46″N, 142°34’44.52″E.
My first thought on seeing the Triangle Dot Spaceship was that we were looking at the tops of small mounds inside the crater illuminated by a very low sun. Too low to see the crater’s floor but high enough to graze higher elevation features inside the crater. You can see this for yourself when looking at the moon at any phase other than full.
Craters near the lunar terminator or sunrise-sunset line are bright-rimmed pools of inky shadow with only their interior peaks sticking up to catch the rising or setting sun. Beautiful to see and perhaps easy to imagine as geometric figures in some cases, but you’re seeing nothing more than the play of light and the human penchant for picturing familiar shapes in abstract patterns known as pareidolia.
Either that or we are seeing a photo artifact caused by processing or zooming in so tight that small groups of individual pixels begin to take on artificial geometrical shapes that have nothing to do with the subject itself. Indeed, this second possibility appears to be on the mark.
Mick West at Metabunk.org took a closer look at the same photos and worked up a brilliant analysis of how something so geometric can appear not just in the crater of interest but across larger areas of the moon. In a nutshell, he traced the artifacts to how Google Earth’s Moon atlas uses filters for sharpening images.
Sharpening filters come with almost all imaging programs. They remove some of the softness inherent in digital photography. Used with moderation, they can make your photos cleaner and clearer without altering their content. Be careful though with too much sharpening especially on pictures that have been greatly enlarged.
In my own work as a photographer, I’ve seen weird artifacts on low-light images that I’ve “pushed too far” with either color correction or sharpening. We’re looking at similar artifacts in the spaceship photos where digital pixels that have been greatly enlarged and sharpened. They don’t exist on the original image, but when you zoom into Google Moon, the atlas switches to an identical set of images that have been digitally sharpened.
While the extreme closeups might look more pleasing, that sharpening adds dot-like artifacts all across the landscape. An entire convoy of space invaders? Well, I’ll let you decide. Be sure to read Mick’s analysis for all the details.