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106 votes
Accepted

Which Apollo "mystery" was said to be finally solved by a better rendering engine?

NVIDIA rendered Aldrin descending to the surface and discovered that, just as the conspiracies claimed, it couldn't be reproduced with direct light from the sun as the sole light source. Of course, as ...
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81 votes
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This image of the Space Shuttle is truly beautiful, but is it real?

This image is very similar to the following image https://spaceflight.nasa.gov/gallery/images/shuttle/sts-130/html/iss022e062672.html with the following description STS-130 Shuttle Mission Imagery ...
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55 votes
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Why are photos from Juno such low resolution?

Short answer: JunoCam is not a scientific instrument; It was put onboard solely to get some neat pictures. It is not necessary for the scientific mission, and is mostly there just for public interest....
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  • 5,571
45 votes

This image of the Space Shuttle is truly beautiful, but is it real?

A reverse image search (once you tell Google you're looking for the space shuttle, not base jump) brings you to the picture on Getty Images, which states: Space shuttle above Earth's atmosphere, ...
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  • 959
31 votes

Why doesn't Dawn create and release colour images of Ceres?

The Dawn spacecraft is carrying 3 electromagnetic instruments; the Framing Camera (FC), the Gamma Ray and Neutron Detector (GRND), and the Visible and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (VIMS). Your ...
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29 votes
Accepted

Why was the imaging quality of the Voyager probes *much* better than the Pioneer probes despite being launched only 5 years later?

The 1960s and 1970s were a period of rapid technological development, so it's not actually surprising that the relatively new field of electronic imaging advanced so far in that five-year period. ...
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28 votes
Accepted

Is this really an image of the sun, or an "artist's conception"?

You can find the image on Flickr. On August 31, 2012 a long filament of solar material that had been hovering in the sun's atmosphere, the corona, erupted out into space at 4:36 p.m. EDT. The ...
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  • 121k
28 votes

Why was the imaging quality of the Voyager probes *much* better than the Pioneer probes despite being launched only 5 years later?

It is not only the progress in imaging over that period. Voyager was a more ambitious and expensive mission in general. The mass of Pioneer 11 was 259 kg, while that of Voyager was 825.5. That extra ...
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  • 6,963
26 votes

Where are the pictures during the time the pictures are sent from space to home?

Spacecraft that take pictures take them similar to a digital camera. However, the camera is very far away. Similar to downloading a movie off of a website so you can watch it on your local device, it ...
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  • 118k
26 votes
Accepted

Why have there been no new New Horizons images in the last few weeks?

Organic Marble is correct in the comment, New Horizons is now busy with Departure Phase (DP2 from Aug 5-Oct 22) science and transmitting plasma and dust data, and no additional images will be ...
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  • 75.5k
25 votes
Accepted

Why do the pictures returned from the New Horizons flyby of Pluto lack motion blur?

New Horizons pans during shots to eliminate motion smear. See this related question. The Voyager mission proved that this was possible: Between Voyager 2’s encounter with Saturn in 1981 and Uranus ...
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  • 121k
21 votes

Are there any photo(s) of International Space Station (ISS) captured from above its altitude?

Yes. Most craft, when docking with the ISS do a fly-around to survey the docking site. They can then frequently capture images of the ISS from the top view. Here is one from the Shuttle Atlantis taken ...
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20 votes

When will we have the technology to directly observe an exoplanet with significant clarity?

It's not currently possible to get the details of a planet from a distance like a light year or more. Furthermore the projects mentioned below do not aim to get good images of the surface, but only to ...
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  • 4,853
19 votes

Where are the pictures during the time the pictures are sent from space to home?

(10 year old version) The pictures are sent by radio, and the radio signals travel at the speed of light. Although the speed of light is very fast, it is not unlimited, and space probes can be very ...
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16 votes
Accepted

Why is there a purple dot in the middle of this EPIC image?

EPIC (PDF) is a Cassegrain type reflector telescope so there's the fixed hyperbolic secondary mirror in the middle of the telescopes light path / focal plane. While that could be removed during post-...
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  • 75.5k
16 votes
Accepted

Why would thermal imaging be used to locate the Chandrayaan-2 lander?

It was not a thermal image at all. It is an optical image that has been captured by Orbiter of the lander spot and not thermal image as reported by others media houses. OHRC is same like our ...
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  • 5,037
15 votes
Accepted

Why the thermal imaging of Mercury's surface requires a telescope on a jet flying through an eclipse?

Why not a satellite-based telescope to observe Mercury in the thermal infrared? Space-borne satellites that are designed to look at the Sun (e.g., SOHO) aren't instrumented to look in the thermal ...
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  • 64.4k
14 votes
Accepted

Why are sections of Cassini photographs blurred?

Your guess is correct. To quote NASA's page, The mosaics each consist of multiple narrow-angle camera (NAC) images with data from the wide-angle camera used to fill in areas where NAC data was not ...
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  • 5,168
14 votes
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Did New Horizons capture enough of Pluto's surface to create its global map?

If you mean if New Horizons' data return could produce a global high-resolution map of Pluto's surface, then no, and here's why: Pluto at New Horizons approach: New Horizons Ground Track on Pluto: ...
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  • 75.5k
14 votes
Accepted

Do Mariner 4 hand rendered images still exist?

It was displayed publicly yesterday! At a Karman lecture held by Mr. Blaine Baggett, Director, Office of Communication and Education, JPL. It might not be archived and available to download right now, ...
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14 votes
Accepted

Why are spy satellites in elliptical orbits?

This is just an educated guess; I'm not connected with the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, or any related agency. Europe is in the northern hemisphere, as is the Middle East and all of ...
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  • 64.4k
13 votes
Accepted

Could a spy satellite image another satellite?

You don't have to expect of the intelligence community to divulge classified information to see if this is possible, it has been done before by civilian satellites:      &...
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  • 75.5k
13 votes

Is this really an image of the sun, or an "artist's conception"?

I'm posting these images as a supplement @Hobbes's accepted answer and @TildalWave's comments (which includes links to these images). I started reading some of those links. The gallery is a good ...
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  • 148k
13 votes
Accepted

Stripe of high def imagery on Google Moon

The Moon part of Google Earth was published in 2009, in celebration of the 40th anniversary of Apollo 11. So, it didn't have access to the wonderful photo imagery of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter ...
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  • 20.8k
13 votes

This image of the Space Shuttle is truly beautiful, but is it real?

Some further information on the manipulation or possible genuine situation can be had by analyzing the perspective in the image. I measured the length of the orbiter as 49 pixels and the diameter of ...
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  • 1,620
12 votes

Where are the pictures during the time the pictures are sent from space to home?

Radio waves are such an abstract concept that it might be useful to explain to a child using an analogy of concrete objects. In a real way, picture information contained in a radio transmission could ...
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  • 223
12 votes

Help me understand these tweeted images of JWST moving through Orion!

I've made the picture and I try to answer the questions or clarify : First picture (tweet) shows a cropped image of a usual stacked startrail image. So the first image is a simple overlay of all ...
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11 votes
Accepted

Where are the pictures during the time the pictures are sent from space to home?

A correct analogy would be: There is an image at some location. Someone is here and talks to someone else at a distance. The first person announces the color of each pixel, one by one. The second ...
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  • 4,853
11 votes
Accepted

Could an ISS astronaut photograph something like this 1km "Van Gogh" if they knew it was there?

I like @PearsonArtPhoto's answer, though the considerations about exposure time may not be correct. I was looking for something more visual. The website states an area of 0,53m² of the Van Gogh image,...
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