The purpose of this document is to demonstrate that any photograph featuring the Earth taken by an Apollo astronaut was taken where and when it is claimed: either en route to, walking on the surface of, or returning from, the Moon.
It will use satellite images gathered from a variety of sources and identify weather patterns in them that can also be identified in Apollo photographs. Where possible, the times of those satellite images will be identified. Software such as Stellarium, or the Earthview website, will also be used to show the relative position of observable land masses and the terminator (the dividing line between night and day) on the Earth's surface. All Apollo missions that went to the moon and thus went beyond low Earth orbit (LEO), including the three that did not land: Apollos 8, 10 and 13, will be examined. The images chosen are the best quality available, attempt to provide as complete a coverage of the Earth's surface as possible, and also represent key stages in each mission.
Some missions are better represented than others. Apollo astronauts' main focus was the Moon, and images of the Earth were taken more for the 'wow' factor and novelty value than any attempt at serious scientific record. Possible exceptions to that are the Ultra Violet photographs of the planet taken in later missions, where matching images of Earth were taken as a comparison, and Jack Schmitt (Apollo 17's geologist astronaut) in his effusive and detailed descriptions of the meteorological scene below him.
The number of photographs available for analysis is therefore a result of the whim of the person holding the camera. No apology is made for using many images. If there are photographs from every day of a mission, then they will be examined, because the aim is to demonstrate that for any photograph featuring the Earth it is possible to match that photograph to satellite photographs so that it can be shown beyond any doubt that the Apollo photographs are genuine.
The Earth was also not always in a position to be photographed. Like the Moon from the Earth, the Earth as viewed from the Moon has phases, and a couple of missions took place when the Earth could only be seen as a crescent. The size of this crescent can also change depending on the location of the orbiting Command and Service Module (CSM). On these occasions it is still sometimes possible to determine what weather systems are visible, but a little more detective work is required.
Images will be composited in an image editor. Other than zooming, cropping, altering of levels, and sometimes sharpening (only where appropriate to improve image quality & certainly not to deceive or confuse the reader) to make features clearer, absolutely no manipulation will be carried out on any image that materially alters their content. This point is worth emphasising again, as some critics of this approach have an immediate knee jerk response that there has been some form of fakery involved.
To repeat: No content has been added to or removed from any image used here.
The observable features on both satellite and Apollo images are exactly as they have been given in their source. Any accusation that the images have been altered by the author is false, libellous, and says more about an accuser's unwillingness to listen to reason than the quality of the evidence provided. Any critic of the technique is welcome to take the images provided (they will all be given an internet link)and perform their own analysis. If they arrive at alternative conclusions they are free to argue their case. Good luck.
These images can not, in themselves, prove beyond any doubt that the Apollo missions landed on the moon, but they represent a significant contribution to the body of evidence supporting the historical record.
Weather patterns have been identified before in individual Apollo photographs and TV broadcasts, but the analyses presented here are the first to systematically compare all the different contemporaneous sources.
The analyses provided are necessarily repetitive & to some extent formulaic. An Apollo photograph will be selected and a satellite image presented for comparison. Key weather systems will be identified on both. Where possible, images from more than one satellite will be used. Again, where possible, the time of the satellite photograph will be identified. Timelines of the Apollo missions and the journal entries given on the Apollo Flight Journal (AFJ) and Apollo Lunar Surface Journal(ALSJ) websites will be used to support suggestions as to when the Apollo images were taken.
Meteorological data will also be examined, and any other sources of information, such as TV broadcasts, newspaper reports, scientific journals and mission transcripts will be used to add further weight to the arguments presented.
Before going on to analyse the photographs, we will first look at the satellites concerned, then the cameras used by Apollo.