Thursday, August 23, 2012


Part #3 – Shadows and the Geometry of Light

The Daedalus Ziggurat from NASA image “5564.jpg”

In this section, I will address Stuart’s (PS4NASA) claim that the Ziggurat image is a “fraud” because in his opinion, the lighting geometry is “wrong.”

What Stuart (PS4NASA) said:

“3. Why the shadowed parts of his ziggurat are lit up when they’re in shadow, on top of a hill, and not facing anything that should reflect light at them?”

Response: I guess that we just fundamentally have a disagreement about this Stuart (PS4NASA). Again, he keeps repeating this claim, but no matter how many times he does, he can’t make it true. They are facing “something” that would reflect light at them and account for the lighting geometry in as1120pyramid20smallue2.jpg. I see brightly lit hills all around the depression on the left side of the Ziggurat that would reflect light into the shadowed area under dispute.

In his original post, Stuart (PS4NASA) claimed that ALL of the shadows on the Moon are absolute black, and there are few (if any) gradations of light and dark on the Moon because of a lack of atmosphere. “If you’re in shadow, you’re in shadow and it’s going to be pitch-black (or almost pitch-black).” He repeats this claim in a video he made attacking the Ziggurat as a hoax and calling Mr. Hoagland incompetent and a liar.

 As I pointed out in my last post, this is categorically untrue.  I have seen hundreds, if not thousands, of lunar images where the shadows are far from “pitch-black (or almost pitch-black).” I will show you some later in this article. You actually have to be pretty dumb to even make such a claim. And when this inconvenient fact  was pointed out to him on his YouTube video in the comments section, even Stuart (PS4NASA) agreed that this claim was, as he likes to put it, “factually incorrect.”

You “thought of that an hour after you posted the video?” Really? So you knew that your statement that “If you’re in shadow, you’re in shadow and it’s going to be pitch-black (or almost pitch-black)” was factually incorrect, but you just “forgot?”

I’m sorry Stuart (PS4NASA), did I miss something? I thought you were an astrophysics expert and all that stuff? I mean, wouldn’t a Brainiac like you with all those important degrees who boasts about spending all that time processing images of the Moon have known that from the get-go? I did, but when I pointed it out in my last blog post, you asserted that I didn’t know what I was talking about.  And then, even after you “remembered” that your claim was false, you not only didn’t retract it, but you still made it a structural pillar of your claim that the Ziggurat image is “a hoax.” You even posted another, longer video still making the same false claim after you admit “remembering” there is such a thing as light scattering on the Moon.

Dr. Stuart Robbins

So in other words, Stuart (PS4NASA), you knew from July 22nd  on when you “remembered” that light scatters into shadows on the Moon that these claims were false yet you never uploaded a video correcting this claim, and you still continue to defend the claim on you blog. And you have the gall to say I’m “paranoid” because I don’t trust either your competence or your intentions?


Then, Stuart (PS4NASA) goes to his fallback position. He agrees that yeah, as the viewer pointed out, craters on the Moon are NOT “pitch-black (or almost pitch-black),” but the ones around the Ziggurat really have to be, because “The region has no hills nearby that would scatter light onto the ziggurat surface.”

Oh really?

Since the lunar surface is made mostly of glass, titanium and aluminum, it tends to be very highly reflective. That’s why there’s something called “backscatter” illuminating the astronauts in all the pictures of them on the lunar surface where they are facing away from the sun. The photos of Buzz Aldrin descending the ladder are also proof that you don’t need any nearby hills to scatter light on the Moon. The surface does a fine job of that all by itself.  It is also what Stuart’s (PS4NASA) commentator “TheWonkyAstronomer” was trying to explain to him in the comments on his YouTube video. (More on this in my upcoming book, AncientAliens on the Moon.) So the truth is, all of the shadows on AS11-38-5564 should be illuminated by at least some light.

But they aren’t.

When you enhance the NASA version of 5564, as we’ve already established, all you get is the pitch black, painted over shadows where you should see details of structures and/or terrain. In other words, the lighting geometry of as1120pyramid20smallue2.jpg is exactly right, and Stuart’s (PS4NASA)’s claims -- and the official version of 5564 -- are completely wrong.

Let’s look at the lighting geometry of AS11-38-5564 and illustrate this.
Current NASA version of AS11-38-5564 (contrast increased 20%)

Pretty obviously, the light is coming from the upper right, which is why all the shadows are being cast to the left in this image. The top of the left wall (let’s just call it the “left side” instead of arguing about east and west, shall we?) of the Ziggurat is being illuminated, and the wall is casting a shadow into the depression below. As the arrows indicate, the raised, reflective “hills” beyond are perfectly aligned to reflect or “backscatter” light into the deeply shadowed area where we can see a wall in the original Ziggurat photo. On the NASA version of 5564, all we see is a painted over black blotch. Again, given that the lunar soil is made up of primarily glass beads, aluminum and titanium – the equivalent of millions of tiny glass and metal mirrors-- I just can’t see how any “normal” person can conclude that the geometry is “wrong” to illuminate this depression.

But maybe Stuart (PS4NASA) isn’t “normal.”

To better understand what “backscatter” is, let’s just quickly consult Wikipedia, shall we?

“In physics, backscatter (or backscattering) is the reflection of waves, particles, or signals back to the direction from which they came. It is a diffuse reflection due to scattering, as opposed to specular reflection like a mirror” [emphasis mine].

OK, so if the light in this image was being reflected “back to the direction from which they came,” then it is obvious that the blacked out depression below the left wall should be illuminated, but in the NASA image its isn’t. This is especially true because as the article said, backscatter is a diffuse reflection, meaning the light scatters in all directions.

This is yet again more confirmation that contrary to what Stuart (PS4NASA) claims, the lighting geometry of as1120pyramid20smallue2.jpg is absolutely correct. It also reinforces the argument I made in my last post, which is that the shadow cast by the left wall of Ziggurat should not be absolute black, and that the gray part of the shadow, the part that wasn’t painted over by some NASA goon, reflects (pun intended) the real and far more realistic lighting we should see on the NASA version of 5564.

And as we look closer, we can see another example of how Stuart (PS4NASA) has gotten the lighting geometry completely wrong; the “Temple” area.
as1120pyramid20smallue2.jpg with Temple area contrast enhanced

The “Temple” is the square structure that sits at the exact lateral center of the Ziggurat, with a ramp extending into it from the front. It also has a bright colored dome on top, a bright band around the top level and beveled corners. All of these are plainly visible in the original image but have faded, though not disappeared completely, in the NASA version of 5564. You will also note that the bright band extends around the left wall of the Temple housing, and there is a pattern of four bright spots on the left vertical wall. Again, according to Stuart (PS4NASA), this area should be in complete, absolute shadow and none of these features should be visible because according to him, there is nothing for light to bounce off of (backscatter) and illuminate the area. He cites this as a “proof” that the Ziggurat photo is a fake or hoax, and sets this as one of the “three points of what Mike must explain” before he’ll admit the Ziggurat image is likely real, and by implication, the official NASA version has been faked.

No problem.

Besides the hills and terrain features I already listed, as you can see in any version of 5564, even the fake NASA one, the top left wall and the “back” wall of the Ziggurat are brightly illuminated. Contrary to what Stuart (PS4NASA) has asserted, these inner walls of the Ziggurat are perfectly positioned to scatter light back into the shadowed area on the left side of the Temple area (remember, backscattering by definition scatters light in all directions). Again, this puts the lie to his claim that the shadows should be absolute black or near black as they are in the official NASA version of 5564, and confirms that there is nothing at all incorrect, wrong or suspicious about the lighting in as1120pyramid20smallue2.jpg.

(One other note; I make no claim that the placement of my arrows labeled “light” is perfect in any of these images. I do assert however that it is very close to correct, certainly close enough to support the arguments, and in any event, irrelevant. The simple fact that the hills beyond the left wall and the top of the inner walls are illuminated at all is a de-facto "proof" that light is being backscattered into the shadowed areas in question. I’m sure his next assertion will be that “yeah, well maybe the geometry is right, but the intensity isn’t enough.” Or something like that. He will still be wrong.)

Next, Stuart (PS4NASA) then goes on to make a claim that will get him into even bigger trouble:
“Mike, all you have to do is look anywhere in that – or ANY other similar image at ANY crater from this set – and you will see that the shadowed parts of the craters are not lit by scattered light from the highlighted wall. That is a factual statement of observation, and I challenge anyone to find fault with it.”

OK, I'll take that challenge.

First of all, if you’re talking about AS11-38-5564, we’ve already established that A) you don’t understand (or “remember”) anything about the phenomenon called “backscattering,” and B) that the only reason the shadowed parts of the craters in that image “are not lit by scattered light” is because somebody at NASA painted over them with a pitch-black brush. But why argue when we can put your specious assertion to the test?

There is another series of NASA photographs, taken at virtually the same time as AS11-38-5564, that show the same area around Daedalus crater. The only difference is that these images are color and used SO-368 Ektachrome MS ASA64 film, and possibly an 80-mm lens, although according to NASA documents, they may have been taken with a 250-mm lens. In either case, the photos are of very high quality and will play a major part in our story. They, like AS11-38-5564, were taken by one of the Apollo 11 astronauts as the Command and Service Module Columbia was leaving the Moon just after Trans Earth Injection. Obviously, one astronaut had a Hasselblad camera with the black and white (Panatomic-X) film, and one astronaut had a Hasselblad camera with SO-368 Ektachrome MS ASA64 color film. As Columbia flew past Daedalus on its way home, the astronauts were snapping away with their power winders documenting the area out of the windows of the Columbia.

One of the photos they took is AS11-44-6609. Taken just a few seconds before the Ziggurat image AS11-38-5564, it shows a clear view into Daedalus crater under the same lighting conditions, and certainly, most “normal” people would agree, constitutes a “similar image” to 5564. And guess what? You can see details in the shadows. Even without ANY enhancement, you can see the terrain of the crater rim in the shadowed area. So if Stuart (PS4NASA) is right, and there are no craters in the area that have light scattered/reflected into them, how is this possible?

It isn’t. Because he’s wrong.

Shadowed rim of lunar crater Daedalus from NASA image AS11-44-6609. Note terrain detail visible in shadowed area without enhancement.

Of course, when you use the “Adjust Lighting... Shadows/Highlights” tool and that nifty little slider named “Lighten Shadows,” (remember them Stuart [PS4NASA]?) it becomes even more obvious that Stuart’s (PS4NASA) claim that “ANY other similar image at ANY crater from this set – and you will see that the shadowed parts of the craters are "not lit by scattered light” is fallacious:

AS11-44-6609 processed with “Lighten Shadows...” and “Reduce Noise...” filters in Photoshop

It gets even worse for Stuart (PS4NASA) when you consider that, unlike the Ziggurat area, there are no nearby hills to scatter light back into this shadowed area of Daedalus crater. See, there don’t need to be, because his assertion that you have to have “very steep, fresh crater walls” nearby just to “reflect SOME light into the shadowed region…” is completely wrong. This photo, taken under the exact same lighting conditions and at virtually the exact same time, is proof of that. Light was scattering into the shadowed areas of the craters and depressions near Daedalus all over the place on that day, without the need for “very steep, fresh crater walls” to reflect the light back. There is nothing but a flat and nearly featureless crater floor opposite the sun.
Now, as an update to his response, Stuart (PS4NASA) added this little tidbit he got from Bloated Sack of Protoplasm James Oberg:

James Oberg – Bloated Sack of Protoplasm

“Edited to Add (08/08/2012): As James Oberg mentioned in the comments, and I’ve heard Richard Hoagland claim many times, Mike and Richard supposedly have a set of near-original copies of all Apollo images. Why Mike then relied on an internet game forum post for the “original” or even on LPI is a mystery.”
This is of course intended as a snide little dig at the site where I first found the original as1120pyramid20smallue2.jpg, but it applies here.

First though, yet another correction. The claim made by James Oberg (BSOP) and repeated by Stuart (PS4NASA) without question that “Mike and Richard supposedly have a set of near-original copies of all Apollo images.” is, like so many of their other claims, categorically false. KEN JOHNSTON, who Oberg worked with for years at NASA, has a set of some near-original prints of Apollo photographs from all the different missions. Neither Richard nor I have EVER claimed that either of us have these photographs, nor anything near a complete set. They are Ken’s property, plain and simple. The full story of how KEN came to possess these is told in Dark Mission and will be briefly recounted in Ancient Aliens on the Moon. If in fact Stuart (PS4NASA) had actually read Dark Mission, he’d know that.
Ken Johnston, Jr. working at NASA in the 1960’s

Ken, however, being a generally nice guy and having a generally honest curiosity about what’s really on the Moon, does occasionally from time to time allow us to scan or borrow some of these photos, if he has them. Well it turns out that AS11-44-6609 is one of the ones he had lying around.

So at my request, Ken scanned the image and sent it to me. The scan has pixel dimensions of 3840 x 3952 (I’ll leave it to Brainiac to figure out how many megapixels that is) and, except for a little wear and tear looks identical to the image of AS11-44-6609 I downloaded from the Apollo Flight Journal site.

And guess what? It absolutely confirms what’s on the Flight Journal version:

There, in the shadows, in stark contrast to everything that Stuart (PS4NASA) has asserted about shadows and light scattering on the Moon, are the same rocky features we see in the Flight Journal scan. This is now a confirmation from a “near-original” analog source that Stuart’s (PS4NASA) model of light scattering on the Moon is completely wrong.
In fact, this is what ALL THE SHADOWS ON AS11-38-5564 should also look like. But they don’t. They look like Oberg (BSOP) took a paintbrush tool and painted over them, as any “normal” person can plainly see. And there’s a reason for that; it’s because that’s exactly what somebody at NASA actually did. And they obviously did it to hide some of the features we see very clearly in “as1120pyramid20smallue2.jpg.”

NASA version of AS11-38-5564. Black areas are all one color, absolute complete black. Real shadows are gray areas to the left. Black area represents portion of image painted over by NASA “image processors.”

As a final test, I challenge anyone with Photoshop or a similar program to try it themselves. Take any image of the Moon where there is detail visible in the shadows and then get out your paintbrush, set it to absolute black (shade-0) and go to town on it. It will look exactly like what NASA did to the craters in “5564.jpg” and the histograms will match as well.

Terrain features of AS11-44-6609 blacked out with paintbrush tool in Photoshop. Note it is identical to darkened areas of NASA version of AS11-38-5564. Histograms are also an exact match.
Which pretty much wraps it up for Stuart’s (PS4NASA) point #3.

So again, just to review:
1. Stuart’s (PS4NASA) claim that shadows on the Moon should be absolute black is false. Photos of the astronauts on the Moon and from orbital reconnaissance photography prove this. Further, Stuart (PS4 NASA) knew this to be true, from at least July 23, 2012, when he admitted as much to a commenter, “TheWonkyAstronomer” in the comments section of his YouTube video.
2.  Despite knowing that this claim was false, Stuart (PS4NASA) continued to make this claim in written analysis on his blog and in a later video beyond July 23rd, 2012.

3. Stuart’s (PS4NASA) claim that the illumination of the shadows on as1120pyramid20smallue2.jpg is somehow evidence that the image is a “hoax” or a “fraud” is false. A simple review of the lighting geometry and a rudimentary (Wikipedia-level) review of the concept of backscattering prove him wrong.
4. Photos taken of the Daedalus region on the same mission, at the same time and under the same lighting conditions show illumination in many craters contrary to his assertions.
5. The complete lack of similar illumination in the shadowed areas of the official NASA image “5564.jpg” is proof that the image has been painted over before being uploaded to the official NASA site. Experiments on other images with a paintbrush tool produce identical results to “5564.jpg.”

But the truth is, none of this actually matters. All of the technical back and forth, the “gotcha” games, the attempts to slander and harass me on my own Facebook page – none of it matters. Because I’ve got the goods. I’ve got the proof that the Ziggurat is really there, on the back side of the Moon.
And that brings us (finally) to point #2…

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