Chinese Moon: update

Chinese Moon: update

Chinese Moon: update

Bad Astronomy
The entire universe in blog form
Dec. 3 2007 3:09 PM

Chinese Moon: update

Looking back on this morning's post about the Chinese Moon probe, BABloggee Marckus Mencke noted that the NASA and China images of the Moon were posted on the Spiegel's website.

I cut out the two images and overlayed them in PhotoShop (I had to rotate the Chinese image by 9 degrees clockwise to get a fit; the scale is still a bit off but it's close enough) and I could not see any missing or extra craters. I may have simply not seen one; the images aren't very big. But I'll note that the Chinese image simply could not have been copies from the NASA image in any case; the direction of sunlight is different between the two! That would have taken an extraordinary effort to make the fake, and I suspect it may be pretty much impossible. It wouldn't have cost much more to actually launch a probe. :-)

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But this does raise the issue that lighting changes can really affect an image. Some craters are more obvious depending on the angle of sunlight, so it may be that when you zoom in and poke around the images, you see a crater in the Chinese image that isn't in the NASA one simply because the crater is fainter in the NASA image.

If I had the tech (and time) to make a blinking GIF I would, but feel free to grab the images yourself and play with them. If you get an interesting result, post it to BAUT!