Space, the final frontier. We may not be sending Starships on 5-year missions to seek out new life and new civilizations but we have set foot on the Moon, right? Conspiracy theorists would have you believe it’s all a big hoax, but what evidence do they have? There are literally hundreds of claims concerning this but I will pick out just two that seem the most credible and certainly gave me pause for thought when I first heard them. First is the observation that in the photos taken by the Apollo astronauts there is a surprising lack of stars in the sky. I mean on the Moon the sky is black All The Time, shouldn’t there be an incredible vista of stars visible? This seems like a plausible objection, during the day here on Earth the sky is bright and blue drowning out the light from any stars. When night comes the sky becomes dark and the stars come out.

However, consider that while there is no atmosphere to scatter the light from the Sun and this makes the sky dark, the Moon’s surface does reflect light (about 10% of the light that hits the Moon is reflected) and the astronauts themselves are clothed in quite reflective white suits. When the subject of a photo is brightly lit, as would be the case on the Moon, then the shutter speed of the camera is increased to avoid over exposure. This means that there is less time for light to fall on the film and dimmer objects will not have enough time to leave an image. Background stars come under the catagory of fainter objects and so do not turn up in the photos.

Ok, so that turned out to be an easy one. This next one is much curlier. There are photos where there are long shadows being cast by objects on the Moons surface. If the Sun is the only source of light these should be parallel, but they seem to diverge. How is this possible? The explanation of multiple light sources does not hold up because of the simple fact that there is only one shadow per object but we can get the same effect both through an uneven surface and simple perspective. If the ground is not flat then this will alter the apparent direction of shadows, also the objects tend to be significant distances away from each other which means that what we see is distorted by perspective. Don’t believe me? look at the shadows of near and distant street lights late in the day and see for yourself. Huh, that one was easy too. If you think I’m picking the low hanging fruit here I suggest you check out the links below, it doesn’t get much harder than this folks.

Resources

http://www.braeunig.us/space/hoax.htm

http://www.badastronomy.com/bad/misc/apollohoax.html

http://www.badastronomy.com/bad/tv/foxapollo.html