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Friday, November 10, 2017

Celestia Recreation: Unmanned Apollo 4 Image

NASA posted this today:

I liked to grab the original scans and what raw data is available from EOL which we can find here for frame AS04-1-580 - so NASA cropped, cleaned up the image, and rotated it for presentation.

Image Caption: Coastal Brazil, Atlantic Ocean, West Africa, and Antarctica, looking west, as seen from the earth-orbital Apollo 4 (Spacecraft 017/Saturn 501) unmanned space mission. This picture was taken when the Spacecraft 017 and the Saturn S-IVB (third) stage was orbiting the earth at an altitude of 9,544 nautical miles.

That's ok - we can do the same thing very easily.  All I've done here is one 90 degree rotation, lowered the brightness, slight increase in saturation, and adjusted the white point so the clouds are whiter.  It's the exact same image, just adjusted for what a human eye would see.  In fact, how this appears on my display will be DIFFERENT from how it appears on your display -- there is no "true" image.  I could get the same visual effect by adjusting my monitor settings. But most people would see the background as washed out on their monitor if we don't adjust it down from the original scan.

Here is the Celestia CEL data for recreating this view:


And here is the recreation of this view in Celestia -- We know from the caption we're supposed to be "looking west" and see the coast of Africa along the terminator and then South America near the western edge and that is exactly what this image shows at the date and time indicated.

Celestia Recreation

There isn't a lot of land mass in view where I can line things up better but this is a pretty good match with the solar glare in about the right spot

So I guess consider this a prediction that the Apollo 4 was likely at roughly Lat: 23.58559, Long: 10.03758, Alt: 17676km, Date/Time: 1967 Nov 09 1811Z

Here is a partial weather map for the Northern Hemisphere from that date from the NOAA library, looks like a significant low-pressure system over North Africa but we can't really see much between Africa and South America.

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