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Analysis of an impossible photograph - Earth appears twice in AS08-16-2628

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Analysis of an impossible photograph - Earth appears twice in AS08-16-2628

Post  Admin on Sun May 22, 2011 4:36 pm

Max Peck wrote:I was going through a batch of images I downloaded from the Apollo 8 Flight Journal website, when I ran into this photograph here.....Suspect Two Earths?? What is this supposed to be?


direct link - http://img30.imageshack.us/img30/9610/as08162628hrafj.jpg
source - http://history.nasa.gov/ap08fj/photo16-a.htm
link to original image - http://history.nasa.gov/ap08fj/photos/16-a/hr/as08-16-2628hr.jpg

I suspect that some of you will quickly recognize this as a manipulated/fake image, and I could deal with this in a short post with a few enhancements. However, because this is a photograph of the Earth that is easier to analyze than the more dubious and unfamiliar lunar surface photography, this image presents a good opportunity to show that alternative explanations cannot account for what we are looking at here. Seriously considering all possibilities may seem like "overkill" and I must say that this post became MUCH longer than I anticipated, but in the end this methodology produces strong evidence that will bear scrutiny and is hard to ignore. What's more, digging a little deeper often reveals more anomalies, and that turned out to be true in this case as well. So let's take a look.

To begin with, I want to emphasize the fact that this is an official NASA photograph, and not a 3rd party book scan, so we can immediately rule out the possibility that this is a mis-print or anything like that. I tried to find more images for comparison but as far as I know, there is only one other on-line version of this photograph available, from the archives of the Lunar & Planetary Institute:



direct link - http://img195.imageshack.us/img195/7826/2628lpimr.jpg
source - http://www.lpi.usra.edu/resources/apollo/frame/?AS08-16-2628
link to original image - http://www.lpi.usra.edu/resources/apollo/images/browse/AS08/16/2628.jpg

Even though it's low-resolution and upside down, it definitely shows the same thing: two Earths. So, according to NASA, this "double Earth" image is an original Apollo photograph, and final proof of that can be found in NASA document SP-201 from 1969, entitled "Analysis of Apollo 8 Photography and Visual Observations". Here is a direct link to it - there is a small black & white print of frame #2628 on page 190 of this PDF-document, and it clearly shows two Earths.

Now that we've established that the original photo contains two Earths, we can move along and take a closer look at it. Before we get to the analysis though, I would like to draw attention to the differences in orientation between these three versions of the image: normal (AFJ), upside down (LPI), and sideways (SP-201). I believe that this is a trick NASA uses to create visual confusion. At first glance, the different orientations may not seem like a big deal because there is no "up" and "down" in space, but that's not the point - look what happens when the low-res LPI image is rotated 180° and compared side-by-side to the AFJ version:


direct link - http://img690.imageshack.us/img690/7154/as08162628afjlpicompars.jpg

In the above image, the reduced size AFJ version is on the left, and the original LPI version is on the right. Isn't this supposed to be the same photograph?? So what's up with the different positioning of the two Earths here? This just shows that there is no such thing as "the original", and it's important to keep that in mind when viewing NASA imaging.

Here is a closer view of the "Earths", cropped from the high-res Flight Journal image at 100% size:


direct link - http://img689.imageshack.us/img689/1189/as08162628hrafjcropped.jpg

One look at the photo tells me that this double Earth effect cannot be the result of an error in the film development process, and if NASA somehow messed up the initial print, it would have been easy enough for them to create a new one. Besides that, if this was the result of an honest mistake on NASA's part, at the very least you would expect them to provide a "disclaimer" to explain this to the public, and to avoid awkward questions such as the ones I am asking right now. Something like: "Yes, we know it looks strange, but this or that happened and that's why the Earth shows up twice in the photo."

Instead: nothing! Documents dealing specifically with the Apollo 8 photography, such as SP-201 which I pointed out earlier, make no special mention of this image, and the same is true for the on-line archives: they are simply ignoring it, perhaps hoping that we won't notice. The LPI archive does not even provide a description for this image, and the caption in the Flight Journal image library is "No Description". To be fair, I have to admit that the Apollo 8 flight Journal is a work in progress, and none of the images from magazine 16/A have been given a description yet. I can't wait to see how they're going to tacle this one when they get to it. Very Happy

The Apollo 8 photography index, as well as SP-201 again, tell us that this image is part of a series, "2619 thru 2658", of long-distance Earth photography shot with the 250mm telephoto lens during Trans Lunar Coast. The description given for all of them together is "Earth". Here is a direct link to the Apollo 8 "70mm Photography Indices" - frame #2628 is listed on page 4 of this PDF-document. The same description can be found on page 147 (PDF) of SP-201.

None of this is very helpful, and since no explanation is forthcoming from NASA, we'll have to investigate the image for ourselves. So, I asked myself the question: how would it be possible to take a picture like this in space, or end up with a print that has two planets Earth in it? I have done my best to be objective, but if anyone has an other idea of how this photograph came to be, I would like to invite him or her to share that knowledge with us here. The way I see it, there are three possible explanations that could account for a "double Earth" photograph such as this one:

1) Only one of the two Earths in the photograph is real, and the other is merely a reflection in the spacecraft window, that was captured on the film. This would mean that the "double Earth effect" is an optical illusion.

2) Both Earths are real, and the photograph is the result of a double exposure. This would mean that, after taking one picture of the Earth, a second photograph was taken without advancing the film. What emerges is essentially a combination of two photographs, one superimposed over the other.

3) Both Earths are real, but the original photograph contained only one Earth, and the second Earth was added later - composited into the frame after the film was developed. This would mean that the image was manipulated deliberately, presumably to hide an object that was visible in front of the original Earth.

And now the question is: which explanation is correct?


Option #1 - A reflection. This is a possibility, but in my opinion the "reflection" explanation is purely theoretical in this case. There is a whole host of arguments against it:
- Neither of the two Earths look like a reflection at all: as you can see, they are not the least bit transparent, and both of them are bright, clearly visible, sharply defined and with crisp detail.
- Magazine 16/A contains 69 photographs of the Earth, 42 of which were taken with the same 250mm telephoto lens as frame #2628. If this is a reflection, how come none of the other photos except this one frame suffer from this "reflection" anomaly?
- How can the Earth be partially covered and hidden from view by its own reflection?

These arguments may not be conclusive on their own, but what's definitely conclusive is that enhancing the blackness of space in the original image reveals that both Earths each have their own reflection, faintly visible on the right hand side:


direct link - http://img412.imageshack.us/img412/2517/as08162628hrafjcrennhan.jpg


Option #2 - A double exposure. Again this is a theoritical possibility, but it's an extremely unlikely explanation, and more importantly, it's not consistent with what we see in the photograph. But I'm getting ahead of myself - let's look at some background information on multiple exposure techniques and the Apollo 8 photographic equipment first:

In film and photography, double exposure is a technique in which a piece of film is exposed twice, to two different images. The resulting photographic image shows the second image superimposed over the first. The technique can be used to create ghostly images or to add people and objects to a scene that were not originally there. It is frequently used in photographic hoaxes. It also is sometimes used as an artistic visual effect, especially when filming singers or musicians.

It is considered easiest to have a manual winding camera for double exposures. On automatic winding cameras, as soon as a picture is taken the film is typically wound to the next frame. Some more advanced automatic winding cameras have the option for multiple exposures but it must be set before making each exposure. Manual winding cameras with a multiple exposure feature can be set to double-expose after making the first exposure.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multiple_exposure

On Apollo 8, Hasselblad EL electric cameras were used for the first time. The electric motor in these Hasselblads largely automated the picture taking process. The astronauts needed only to set the distance, lens aperture, and shutter speed, but once the release button was pressed, the camera exposed and wound the film and tensioned the shutter.

http://history.nasa.gov/printFriendly/apollo_photo.html
I have been going through a lot of Hassellad documentation on the internet to see if the 500 EL camera was equipped with an option for multiple exposures, but not surprisingly I haven't been able to find a specific statement on that. I suspect that it was possible to create multiple exposures, but if the camera shutter could not be tentioned without running the film winding motor, it would have required removal of the film magazine between the two exposures. At any rate, this was not a standard procedure, and double exposures don't have any added scientific value. You can read for yourself in the SP-201 photography analysis document I linked to earlier that photographic assignments for Apollo missions were meticulously planned ahead, down to the calculation of expected exposure times, and if double exposures were to be taken, you can be sure it would be mentioned there.

To stress the point, here is a direct link to a Hasselblad/NASA astronaut's photography manual for the 500 EL/M camera that was used on Space Shuttle missions. This document contains a complete description of the camera functions and all of its components, followed by about 25 pages of "space photography lessons". There is not one word about multiple exposures, and the suggestion that the Apollo 8 photo was taken this way by the astronauts on purpose, cannot be taken seriously.

The only other way to end up with a double exposure is as a result of a camera malfunction, where slack in the film would cause the the winding mechanism to lose grip and prevent it from advancing the film. That this is not the case either can be deducted from the fact that frame #2628 is part of a series, and 30 more photographs were successfully taken after this one. Also, any such failure would no doubt be mentioned in documents like SP-201 or the Mission Report, which is not the case. A PDF-version of the Apollo 8 Mission Report can be found here.

The Hasselblad camera technicalities and photography planning I just mentioned, already demonstrate that the "double exposure" explanation is extremely unlikely, but on top of that, the photograph itself is not consistent with what a double exposure of the Earth would look like. What's important to keep in mind here is that, according to NASA, the background of outer space is completely black. I do not believe this, but let's assume for the sake of argument that it's true. In that case, if this photograph is a double exposure, the pitch black background is key:

Since shooting multiple exposures will expose the same frame multiple times, negative exposure compensation must first be set to avoid overexposure. For example, to expose the frame twice with correct exposure, a −1 EV compensation have to be done, and −2 EV for exposing four times. This may not be necessary when photographing a lit subject in two (or more) different positions against a perfectly dark background, as the background area will be essentially unexposed.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multiple_exposure
Applied to Earth photography, this means that after the first photograph is taken, the area covered by the blackness of space is essentially unexposed film. When a second exposure is added, the black area on the film that is now exposed by the "second" Earth, is exposed to light for the first time, and therefore it's brightness should be equal to that of the first Earth. The only exception is the overlapping area that is shared between the two Earths, which is exposed to light twice, and should appear much brighter than the remaining areas of both Earths. Also, the resulting photograph would show a blending of the two Earths, and not the kind of hard edges we see in frame #2628, with one Earth partially covering the other.

To illustrate this, I created my own double exposure of Earth, using frames #2636 and #2637. It's not perfect, but good enough to demonstrate the differences with frame #2628:


direct link - http://img52.imageshack.us/img52/3135/cas0816263736dblexposur.jpg


Option #3 - Image tampering. This is the only remaining option, and it's consistent with what we see in the photograph: the conclusion has to be that image manipulation is the right answer. The high-resolution AFJ image clearly shows that the nearest or "bottom" Earth partially covers the original or "top" Earth, and completely hides the underlying detail from view; this is simply not possible in the case of a reflection or a double exposure. As I briefly mentioned earlier, the reason for compositing the second Earth into the original frame, was probably to hide an object that was visible in front of the original Earth. This could not have been cropped out of the picture without removing a chunk of the Earth along with it, so instead a "reflection" was added to hide whatever is underneath it from view.

Phew! :whew!: That's all - quite a read but I hope you enjoyed it!

Thanks everyone, and Happy New Year!!! :cheersbeer:
Max Peck.
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Re: Analysis of an impossible photograph - Earth appears twice in AS08-16-2628

Post  Admin on Sun May 22, 2011 4:37 pm

@ Max Peck

nice work !

you did a great job breaking this down and thanks for sharing the results of your investigation with us Cool

i'm not really sure what to think about this image. the mirrored reflections hiding in the dark is certainly interesting

i believe since you demonstrated how easy it would be to create a image like that, it would be foolish to rule out the possibility the double imaging could have been purposely introduced for obfuscative measures. very interesting and i will keep this in mind next time i am looking at images of the Earth from the Apollo archives.


just for comparison i dug up the "Gateway to Astronaut photography" image



http://eol.jsc.nasa.gov/scripts/sseop/photo.pl?mission=AS08&roll=16&frame=2628

Full Size - http://img141.imageshack.us/img141/8117/9f888554569661b8b04c0bc.jpg


thanks again and Happy New Year to you too !
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Re: Analysis of an impossible photograph - Earth appears twice in AS08-16-2628

Post  Admin on Sun May 22, 2011 4:38 pm

LunaCognita wrote:Excellent breakdown Max! I personally suspect that this image is a composite made to appear like a window reflection, possibly done in order to hide something that was visible above the Earth in the frame by just covering it up with a "double Earth". I think they played the same game with frame# AS13-61-8865, which is officially cataloged on the LPI site with the bizarre description stating it is showing "LUNAR DISC WITH BRIGHT DISC PARTIALLY COVERING MOON". Here is a crop of frame 8865 from Apollo 13, showing the "bright disc" partially covering the Moon.

http://img535.imageshack.us/img535/8291/as13618865croplpisaysdi.jpg


http://www.lpi.usra.edu/resources/apollo/frame/?AS13-61-8865

A couple points to further validate what you were saying about the Hasselblad "HDC" 500-series cameras designed for Apollo. The HDCs were indeed designed in such a way as to specifically prevent accidental double-exposures from occurring. Like you mentioned in your post, the NASA documentation about this camera describes the fact that the HDCs were equipped with motor-drive units that automatically handled things like film advancement and shutter re-cocking.

Here is another quote from NASA about this - it comes from an excellent 300-page document published back in 1973 called the "Handbook of Pilot Operational Equipment For Manned Spaceflight" (report # CD42-A/SL-997). For those not aware of it, this document has a ton of information on just about all the equipment the astronauts carried during the Apollo program. It even has a section on their sunglasses and electric shavers and space pens and stuff like that, and has proven to be a valuable resource when looking up anything dealing with the Apollo astronaut gear they carried and used in space and on the Moon. In the section dealing specifically with the Hasselblad HDCs and their motor drive units, the handbook states the following:

http://img5.imageshack.us/img5/7413/handbookofoperationaleq.jpg


Here is a link to my copy of the full document. I know it is available online somewhere, but I just upped my archived copy of it to Scribd here in case anyone wants to see/copy it. The above quote about the Hassey motor drive appears on page 127 of the PDF.
http://www.scribd.com/doc/46077290/0-Handbook-of-Operational-Equipment-1973-NASA

I will say however that there are inaccuracies published in this Handbook - or should I say "differences" or "inconsistencies" - with a few things they describe not quite matching up with what some of the other official documentation claims about the cameras (or what some of the hassy photographs show). Hey, it is NASA - Never A Straight Answer though, so I guess we have to expect that kind of crap because it is designed to deliberately introduce inconsistencies into the official storyline, making the subject matter harder to research.

Just as an example to demonstrate what I mean, on page 123 of the PDF, they state the following about the serial number engravings on the fiducial plate inside the Apollo lunar surface Hasselblads -

http://img153.imageshack.us/img153/7413/handbookofoperationaleq.jpg


They clearly claim here that the last two digits of the camera serial number are engraved on "TOP CENTER" of the plate. However, when we look at the actual Apollo lunar surface Hasselblad imagery, it shows the small serial engraving on the BOTTOM center of MOST of the image prints. BUT, there are a few lunar surface images that do not show the serial number at all though. The reason for that is because NASA did a LOT of lying about different facets of their declared Apollo Hasselblad HDC lunar surface cameras to the public. Lies that focus on the fiducial crosshairs, serial numbers, and camera lenses played a big part in the Apollo coverup, and I dont know if I should just post all that evidence up here in this thread, or just start a new one focusing on the camera lies specifically? It is definitely subject matter worth getting into at some point though.

At any rate, great breakdown you did here Max! It really is a questionable image in my opinion, and I do not buy that what we are seeing is a window reflection or double exposure. I think it is obfuscative, designed to cover up something we are not supposed to see.

Cheers,
LC
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Re: Analysis of an impossible photograph - Earth appears twice in AS08-16-2628

Post  Admin on Sun May 22, 2011 4:38 pm

LunaCognita wrote:Here is an example of what I mean when I say that they may be using the double-Earth to cover something up in those above frames. This frame is from Apollo 14 - cropped from frame# AS14-66-9330.

http://img808.imageshack.us/img808/8814/as14669330hrearthcrop.jpg
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Re: Analysis of an impossible photograph - Earth appears twice in AS08-16-2628

Post  Admin on Sun May 22, 2011 4:39 pm

Max Peck wrote:
Thanks for the kind words and also for the Gateway image! That is an interesting version of it because that looks a lot more like my custom double exposure. The Flight Journal version of frame #2628 is very bright and it seems that this is the main reason why, in that image, one Earth appears to cover the other instead of blending with it. The Gateway image you posted actually looks transparant and you can see the underlying detail of the other Earth shining through! Here is a cropped close-up of it (rotated 180°) to show the difference:


direct link - http://img80.imageshack.us/img80/6048/as08162628hrngwcropped.jpg

Good job Skywalker, this provides some additional insight. I had created some enhancements of the AFJ version to demonstrate the hard edges, but then I decided not to add them because my initial post was long enough as it was. Now that we have this more transparent Gateway version for comparison, the "hard edges problem" is solved. 👍

Even though it turns out that the second Earth is transparent after all, I still don't believe it's a reflection, as per my arguments above and mainly because there is only one picture out of many that looks like this. It's difficult to find exact information but it would definitely help if we could figure out whether this is a hand-held photograph or if the camera was mounted in the window. If the camera was positioned flat against the window, in my opinion this "reflection" would definitely not be possible. Regarding those faint shapes to the right of the Earths that become visible on enhancement, I'm still inclined to think that those are the real reflections (if not, what are they?) but after enhancing a couple more of the Apollo 8 Earth shots, I found some pictures that don't show that either! Strange.....the plot thickens! 🤔

@LunaCognita
Nice posts Luna! This double Earth sure is reminiscent of the Apollo 13 photo with the "bright disc" partially covering the Earth, but how crazy is that one?! At least this one is more subtle but it does looks like a variation of the same technique to me. Thumbs up for the extra information on the Hasselblad cameras; it looks like I covered that quite nicely but there is a ton of documents out there, and it helps to have someone around who has visited the library before. :winking:

Regarding those "inconsistencies" you pointed out, it's a nice coincidence that you should mention those engraved camera numbers. I believe I mentioned that to you once in passing because it had occurred to me that not all of the photographs have those numbers on them, but until now I didn't know what they were for. Nice! As far as the rest of the camera lies is concerned, I would say that it deserves a separate thread, and perhaps it would even be a good idea to take it one step further and address the different types you mentioned there separately. For example, the crosshairs or fiducial marks are quite (in)famous; it's a favorite topic of anomaly hunters and if you ask me there is plenty to say about that alone. Because there are so many wild theories going around, and because that kind of evidence will no doubt be accompanied by a lot of example images, mixing that in with other camera-related issues might get confusing.

To get back to frame #2628 of the double Earth, there is another clue that tells me this photo is probably a composition of two images. While enhancing more Earth shots from Apollo 8 Magazine 16/A, it occurred to me that most of them have a horizontal or vertical "band" running across the entire frame, hugging the edges of the Earth. It's not always very pronounced, but it's detectable in the vast majority of them. I don't exactly know the cause of this, but I have a strong feeling that it has something to do with the Earth cropping evidence you addressed in this thread here. To demonstrate what I mean, here is one example of each:

Enhanced version of AS08-16-2640 showing horizontal "band", and apparent reflection, directly next to the Earth on the right-hand side (50% size):


direct link - http://img41.imageshack.us/img41/7505/as08162640hrenhrdc50.jpg
source image - http://history.nasa.gov/ap08fj/photos/16-a/hr/as08-16-2640hr.jpg


Enhanced version of AS08-16-2638 showing vertical "band", and NO reflection on the right (50% size):


direct link - http://img27.imageshack.us/img27/3665/as08162638hrenhrdc50.jpg
source image - http://history.nasa.gov/ap08fj/photos/16-a/hr/as08-16-2638hr.jpg


The missing "reflection" on the right-hand side of the Earth in frame #2638 above is strange enough, but my point with these two examples is the difference with the #2628 double Earth frame. Here is a labeled enhancement of it, at 50% size:


direct link - http://img714.imageshack.us/img714/3443/as08162628hrafjenhlblrd.jpg
source image - http://history.nasa.gov/ap08fj/photos/16-a/hr/as08-16-2628hr.jpg

In addition to containing two Earths, this photo also shows TWO of these "bands"! Coincidence? Suspect I don't think so. Comments, anyone?

Cheers,
MP.
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