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Can the lunar landers be seen on the moon?


Rusty-Gunn
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No. :eek: :eek: :eek:

May as well keep it simple. :grin: :grin: :grin:

Lunar orbiters with ultra high resolution cameras can show sort of dots that are them but I generally consider a multi-million/billion space project out of the realm of the normal earth bound astronomer and observer.

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Here's what the landing sites look like from lunar orbit, as imaged by the LRO.

This is the Apollo 15 landing site.

627885main1_M175252641LR_ap15-673.jpg

The shadow of the orbiter can be clearly seen in the middle and the lunar rover is parked on the right. The lines are tracks from the rover and footprints, undisturbed in the Moon's vacuum.

It's not practical to image these sites from Earth as it would require a truly huge telescope and atmospheric distortion would ruin the image anyway. However, it is possible to bounce laser beams off reflectors left behind by the Apollo astronauts and measure the reflected signal, this is done to measure the distance to the Moon to extreme precision.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The four largest craterlets on the floor of Plato are great targets to look for, they are elusive but a good test for seeing & good for testing optics on a scope. I have seen four on occation, but they were not resolved as shown in the photo. They were more like small white blotches.

post-36869-0-37268700-1423780350.jpg

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  • 3 weeks later...

The Plato craterlets are the best resolution us amateurs are likely to do, and as previously mentioned if you had a telescope big enought, atmosheric fluctuations would make it impossible to resolve any Lunar landers, clear skies. :grin:

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One of the more common questions asked about viewing the Moon seems to be whether it's possible to see the flag planted on the Moon during the first landing.

Ignoring the issue of atmospheric stability, The maths is fairly straightforward to show that to be able to do so you'd need a telescope with an aperture of something like twenty-three metres.  That's more than twice as big as the largest optical scopes currently in existence.  Even the HST isn't anywhere near big enough for the job.

The E-ELT if/whenever it gets completed, will have a 39m mirror so perhaps in combination with the latest adaptive optics maybe it will be possible to make out some of the things that humans have left on the Moon from Earth.  The conspiracy theorists will doubtless have an explanation for why it's still not true.

James

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The average scope can see things maybe a mile across on the moon. still pretty amazing!

 

Very, very, interesting.I did not realise we

could this get this close to the moon. What

sort of mag, are we talking about here.

The most I have ever got,was about 450x,

with out distortion.Very clear, that night.

Steve

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Very, very, interesting.I did not realise we

could this get this close to the moon. What

sort of mag, are we talking about here.

The most I have ever got,was about 450x,

with out distortion.Very clear, that night.

Steve

This is an image that ! took on Sunday night

16534244588_8eac2927e9_b.jpgCopernicus March 2015

I used a Celestron C11 with a PowerMate 2.5 and a Chameleon camera. The small crater on the walls of Copernicus (at the 9 o'clock position) is 3Km in diameter. With my kit, each pixel is covering about 400 metres of Lunar surface. The Apollo LM is 9.44 metres from tip-to-tip of the landing pads.   That'll give an idea of the the problem.

That's taken from sea level. Someone higher, with a larger scope would get better resolution

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One of the more common questions asked about viewing the Moon seems to be whether it's possible to see the flag planted on the Moon during the first landing.

Ignoring the issue of atmospheric stability, The maths is fairly straightforward to show that to be able to do so you'd need a telescope with an aperture of something like twenty-three metres.  That's more than twice as big as the largest optical scopes currently in existence.  Even the HST isn't anywhere near big enough for the job.

Metres? I seem to recall seeing an article that worked out that to see the flag would need a mirror kilometres wide

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Metres? I seem to recall seeing an article that worked out that to see the flag would need a mirror kilometres wide

Perhaps my memory is failing me.  You may be right.  It's an age thing :D

James

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As I attended an astronomy course in Nice, I asked the same question to the astrophysicist Jean-Pierre Rivest (working at the CNRS) he kindly proceded to make the calculation on the blackboard for me ;)

blackboard

Unfortunatly I forgot the exact size, but it was something in the range of a 100/200m miror diameters to resolve 2 meters (size of the rover). I could be way off, but I know it was something really big ! And; as Naf already said, atmosheric fluctuation would be an issue.

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We were given this sum to do on the UCLAN Introduction to Astronomy course. I can't remember the answer but from memory it might have involved aluminizing the continent of Africa - after some laborious grinding and polishing, of course...

Olly

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We were given this sum to do on the UCLAN Introduction to Astronomy course. I can't remember the answer but from memory it might have involved aluminizing the continent of Africa - after some laborious grinding and polishing, of course...

Olly

Are you sure that wasn't the answer to the "How would you make a Death Star?" question?

James

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As I attended an astronomy course in Nice, I asked the same question to the astrophysicist Jean-Pierre Rivest (working at the CNRS) he kindly proceded to make the calculation on the blackboard for me ;)

Unfortunatly I forgot the exact size, but it was something in the range of a 100/200m miror diameters to resolve 2 meters (size of the rover). I could be way off, but I know it was something really big ! And; as Naf already said, atmosheric fluctuation would be an issue.

We were given this sum to do on the UCLAN Introduction to Astronomy course. I can't remember the answer but from memory it might have involved aluminizing the continent of Africa - after some laborious grinding and polishing, of course...

Olly

So: between 100m and the size of Africa ;)

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The finest detail I've managed to resolve on the Moon with my largest scope, a 12" dobsonian, is one of the smaller Plato craterlets (as a tiny pit with a rim) which is 1 km in diameter and the rille that runs up the floor of the Alpine Valley which varies between .5 and 1 km in width. When the lunar illumination is favourable I've followed the length of the Hadley Rille including the sections visited by the Apollo 15 astronauts and that is around 1.5 km across.

No sign of the LEM, the lunar rover, bootprints or a flag though :grin:

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The finest detail I've managed to resolve on the Moon with my largest scope, a 12" dobsonian, is one of the smaller Plato craterlets (as a tiny pit with a rim) which is 1 km in diameter and the rille that runs up the floor of the Alpine Valley which varies between .5 and 1 km in width. When the lunar illumination is favourable I've followed the length of the Hadley Rille including the sections visited by the Apollo 15 astronauts and that is around 1.5 km across.

No sign of the LEM, the lunar rover, bootprints or a flag though :grin:

AHA! You see!! Somebody with a big scope didn't see them!!! it must be a HOAX!!!! Where's my tinfoil hat!!!!!   ;)

Actually, having seen the live footage of the landing as a 7-year old, I always get angry at the nay-sayers. There is plenty of independent evidence Neil Armstrong et al. went to the moon. It is one of the greatest human achievements, and to have these petty, narrowminded people say it is all a lie is just despiccable.

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