Figure 188.8.131.52: Main image - AS12-50-7396 compared with ATS-3 (top right), ESSA-9 (centre left) and NIMBUS-3 IDCS (centre right) with Stellarium time estimate. Bottom row are NIMBUS-3 HRIR image (left) and 3D reconstructions of digitally restored ESSA (centre) and NIMBUS (right) satellite data. Stellarium estimate of time at terminator to left. All arrows except cyan as 184.108.40.206.
The most representative daylight IR passes for NIMBUS are 2916, which commenced at 18:41. NIMBUS imaged the clouds identified by the blue arrow at 19:02. ESSA's most representative passes are tracks 4 and 5, passes 3305, commenced at 22:02. The ATS-3 image is timed at 14:43 on the 17th. The suggested timings for the Apollo images are vindicated by the timings of the satellite photographs.and the weather systems are largely the same. It’s just possible to make out the Baja California peninsula, and the join of the Pacific weather patterns with it suggest a time of 00:15 on the 17th.
The remaining images on magazine 50 are close ups of the lunar surface, starting with very rounded lunar horizons and ending with much flatter ones, indicative of a space craft approaching the Moon. LOI for Apollo 12 is recorded as being carried at 03:47 on the 18th, so it seems that AS12-50-7396 is the last photograph of Earth taken before entering lunar orbit, and the first lunar orbit proper started at 03:53 on the 18th, shortly before LOS.
And that’s it for day 5 - the crew have far too much to do to waste it on pretty pictures of home, so we move on to the next day. Click the links below.