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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2007 > Mar > Mar 20

Re: Armstrong On The Apollo 11 UFO - Smith

From: James Smith <lunartravel.nul>
Date: Mon, 19 Mar 2007 13:12:40 -0400 (GMT-04:00)
Fwd Date: Tue, 20 Mar 2007 09:52:17 -0400
Subject: Re: Armstrong On The Apollo 11 UFO - Smith

>From: Lan Fleming <lfleming6.nul>
>To: UFO UpDates - Toronto <ufoupdates.nul>
>Date: Sun, 18 Mar 2007 22:33:41 -0500
>Subject: Re: Armstrong On The Apollo 11 UFO

>>From: James Smith <lunartravel.nul>
>>To: ufoupdates.nul
>>Date: Sun, 18 Mar 2007 11:13:30 -0400 (GMT-04:00)
>>Subject: Re: Armstrong On The Apollo 11 UFO

>>>From: Lan Fleming <lfleming6.nul>
>>>To: UFOUpdates <ufoupdates.nul>
>>>Date: Sat, 17 Mar 2007 15:13:22 -0500
>>>Subject: Armstrong On The Apollo 11 UFO

>>>"In Armstrong's mind today, ... I do not know
>>>why we did not see the other three panels, but I suspect that
>>>the one that was directly down from the Sun from us would have
>>>provided the brightest reflection."

>>The Sun would have been at an angle about 90 degrees from the
>>CSM flight path and assuming that the orientation of the CSM/S-
>>IVB at panel jettison was correct, one panel would have been
>>Sunward. One needs to check the attitude at jettison since we
>>have no reports of seeing the panels tumble away prior to
>>midcourse correction.

>That implies that Armstrong thought the object was also 90
>degrees from the flight path in the direction opposite the sun.
>I don't see that would necessarily put it ahead of the
>spacecraft as the author said.

It is unlikely that it could have been "directly down from the
Sun" from them too.

>>It is an excellent point about the other three panels. Although
>>they would have separated somewhat from each other, they surely
>>would have been within the field of view.
>>I do not buy the "brightest reflection" business. A tumbling
>>panel (which they all should have been) would be at some point a
>>good angle to reflect the sunlight significantly. These are not
>>specular reflections, they are only reflections of light from
>>"white" surfaces.

>Lambertian (non-specular) surfaces do reflect more light when
>the sun is at a higher angle relative to the surface, so
>Armstrong may have had a point there.

However, since they are more aft than lateral due to the
midcourse correction, then it should have made less difference.
His assumption was based on much closer panels.

>>Another point that bothers me about the panel explanation is
>>that the CSM was in a flight mode (spinning normal to the
>>ecliptic) for a large part of translunar coast. Surely these
>>guys were looking out the windows (there was not all that much
>>to do at that time)and should have seen a blinking panel prior
>>to the incident. All they had to do was just keep looking out
>>the window and the flashing panels would have come into view. If
>>the CSM was pointing toward the Moon most of the trip, then I
>>could argue the panel would have been out of the field of view,
>>but the spinning flight mode rules this out and implies they
>>should have seen it earlier.

>I agree that the panels would have been visible 577 miles away
>from the spacecraft, but they would have appeared as pinpoints
>of light to the naked eye. Depending on the lighting, they might
>not have stood out well enough from the backround stars to have
>been noticed; I assume the stars would abe far more numerous
>viewed from space than from within the Earth's atmosphere, at
>least in light-polluted urban environments. Perhaps they didn't
>see the panels after docking with the LEM because the spacecraft
>was traveling nose-first, or some other orientation in which the
>view of the sky was more restricted before it was put into the
>passive thermal mode where its rotation gave the crew a 360
>degree view of a large swath of the sky.

I did a quick check using a 3D modeller and the sextent FOV of
1.8 deg. You are right about the appearance being no more than a
dot. The monocular would be even worse for such a distance.

About why they did not see the panels prior to the UFO sighting,
I summed the passive thermal control flight orientation (the
same flight mode they saw the UFO during)time prior to the
event. It was 44 hours. During that period they "ate and slept"
for 30 hours. They had a light workload. I find it hard to
believe that they did not look out the window and that flashing
panels would not have been very apparent, especially since they
were much closer. The passive thermal control mode existed PRIOR
(from 11 hours to 24 hours MET) to the mid course burn so the
panels would have been at their closest and brightest. But not
one mention anywhere in transcripts.

>At a distance of 577 miles, a 21-foot long panel would subtend
>0.024 minutes of arc. The sextant telescope had a 28X
>magnification, so the angular size would be 28 times greater
>through the telsecope: 0.7 arcminutes. The resolution limit of
>the human eye for distinguishing an object that is more than a
>pinpoint of light is about 1 arcminute, although I've seen
>numbers as low as 0.7 arcminutes. So as far as I can see, one of
>these SLA panels would appear to be little more than a dot. I'm
>no expert in optics, but I don't see how they could have seen
>any shape at all, weird or otherwise.

Yes, I agree.

>I still think it's important that the credibility of people in
>positions of authority needs to be called into question when
>their stories change with time, whether the authority is the
>U.S. Attorney General, who's had some problems with that
>recently, or a famous astronaut. I'd like to hear Buzz Aldrin
>explain why his story changed in the years since the Apollo 11
>mission debriefing when he essentially rejected the panels as a
>likely explanation.

Perhaps, but I am cynical and always suspect "authorities". I
prefer to spend my time arriving at answers to the UFO question
using my own data than relying on their authority and their

>By the way, it occurred to me that the midcourse correction you
>found out about could make some other source of debris from the
>CSM/LM less likely. Assuming that the object was something more
>than an ice particle, the only events that I can think of that
>would have generated any major debris would have been the
>separation of the spacecraft from the booster and docking with
>the LEM. The 485-mile downtrack distance between the panels and
>the spacecraft that you computed for the midcourse correction
>would also be the distance to any big chunks of debris left
>floating around near the booster after the transposition and
>docking, barring the off chance that the debris got a good kick
>in the downtrack direction from a thruster or explosive bolt.
>And whatever debris there was would have been a lot smaller than
>the SLA panels and even harder to see at that distance.

Yes, this is true. However, they did have a waste water dump in
the hours prior to the UFO sighting (the switch to passive
thermal control flight mode occured after the dump).

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