A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding
From: Brad Morris
Date: 2019 Jan 29, 12:26 -0500
This particular image and its odd "North Pole" back-story have been making the rounds for at least fourteen years. It's been posted to NavList at least three times before -- in March 2006, in January 2009, and in March 2013.
Borrowing from some of my earlier comments:
It's not a photo, or even a composite of multiple photos. It's pure digital art; a fantasy scene as you might find in a video game. This particular bit of digital art was created by a kid in Germany. The image was picked up by the forward-hordes sometime back in 2005, re-labeled, and given the usual "forward to all your friends" chain letter treatment.
So how can we tell it's not real? I've got three clues...
1) The Sun is too small compared to the Moon. That's a big clue. But the image might be mis-labeled, so maybe we should set that aside for the moment and consider the possibility that it's actually an over-exposed image of a star or planet.
2) If it's taken from any place on Earth, the only objects that can appear as crescents are the Moon and Venus. I can't think of any way to get the water foreground in the same image if it's Venus, so we have to assume it's the Moon. We now have a scale. Figuring about 16' for the semi-diameter of the Moon, the altitude of the Lower Limb is about the same, 16 minutes of arc. At that altitude, it is physically impossible for the Moon to have a perfectly circular outline. It should be flattened by refraction. Yet it's perfectly circular. This is the killer.
3) Finally, there are no craters. At this scale, you will always find craters and isolated mountain peaks visible near the Moon's terminator.
In late spring 2006, the various "urban legend" sites wrote this up, too. Try here: http://www.snopes.com/photos/natural/northpole.asp. And here: https://www.hoax-slayer.net/image-of-the-north-pole-with-the-moon-at-its-closest-point/. And also NASA's APOD site here: http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap060620.html (which includes some erroneous info).
Here's an interesting challenge: the next time the crescent moon is very close to a bright planet, I propose attempting a real photo that duplicates as nearly as possible the appearance of this digital image. Then we start a new email forwarding game and see how many people happily assure us that, "as everybody knows," it's not a real photo. For starters, what's the range of latitude where the horns of the crescent moon can be exactly horizontal?
Some earlier threads:
Another problem with this "image" even as a fantasy. On any planet with a thin crescent moon in the sky, the "dark" part of the Moon should be illuminated by "earthshine" (planet-shine).
By the way, as for possible geographic locations, we can easily determine that this is not the North Pole. The horns of the crescent moon can never be horizontal at any arctic (or antarctic) latitude under any circumstances.
In one of my earlier posts on this, I wrote: "PS: In my comments above, I said that the image was created by a "kid" in Germany. That was at least eight years ago [now 14 years ago]. I suspect this image and its story will bounce around as "forward-fodder" long enough that I will have to re-write this and say that it was created "by a middle-aged man in Germany when he was a teenager"."
It seems I had the artist's gender wrong previously. But, yes, she should be 30 or 31 by now.. We're getting there.
Clockwork Mapping / ReedNavigation.com
Conanicut Island USA