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China: “Beautiful Eyes” Questioned the New Crater in China's First Moon Picture

“China published the first picture of the moon captured by Chang'e-1 on Monday morning, marking the success of the country's first lunar probe project.” Xinhua News Agency, the state-run media of China, reported on November 26. Although proudly unveiled by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, the “framed black-and-white photo” which “showed a rough moon surface with scattered round craters both big and small” immediately caused some astronomical amateurs’ suspicions because of its similarities to an earlier lunar image confirmed by US in 2005. Additionally, the recent South China Tiger farce and the continuous negative rumors of the lunar probe undoubtedly reinforced people's worries that whether the photo was another “Tiger” copied from NASA‘s work.

In an effort to dispel the doubts and queries about the picture, Ouyang Ziyuan, academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and chief scientist of the lunar exploration program, claimed last Sunday, “Because China and the United States took the images in the same region, it's natural the two pictures look alike. But through careful observation you will see there are some nuances.” To further prove the photo's authenticity, Professor Ouyang Ziyuan confidently cited a convincing difference discovered by a Canadian Chinese named Jun Liu, saying after a careful comparison the overseas Chinese found that in China National Space Administration(CNSA)'s picture there were two craters in an area where the NASA's image only showed one. “The additional crater,” Ouyang Ziyuan added, “may be either missed due to the American photo's inadequate resolution or created by a new impact of some celestial body from 2005 to 2007.”

The magnifying image of the new crater were massively quoted by the mainstream media in China and a lot of people including part of the critics were brought around by the effective proof, until another question persuasively raised by a netizen named “Beautiful Eyes” (美丽的眼睛) was appearing in a thread of Shanghai Astronomical Observatory online BBS:

我前两天回一个帖子时估算了一下,十来年的功夫在几百乘几百公里的月面上最可能产生的是直径米级的新撞击坑,当然不能排出km级新坑的可能性,但那应该是非常非常低概率的事件。
今天欧阳院士说出来我有点惊讶,但是图上确实很明显。刚才我又把我们的图和Google Moon仔细比了一下,发现“新撞击坑”的说法问题很大。最可能是问题出在图片拼接环节。很可能有一方把图拼叉了。

When I replied to a post the other day, I had an estimate that during ten years or so it is most likely to form a new crater meters in diameter within an area of thousands of square kilometers in the moon surface. Of course we can not get rid of the possibility of a new km-grade crater, but that should be an incident of extremely low probability.
I was a little surprised by what academician Ouyang said today, but obviously there were two craters in CNSA's photo. Just now I made a careful comparison again between our picture and Google Moon, finding out a big problem of the “new crater”. The error may be committed during the image stitching. It's highly probable that either NASA or CNSA wrongly pieced together the images.

我的World Wind坏了下不了清晰的月面图,谁有的拿来也比一比。
这是大体位置:

My World Wind doesn't work so I can't download a clear image of the moon surface. If somebody has one you can have a comparison.
This is the approximate position of the new crater:

欧阳院士在上海文汇的报告会上讲,一位加拿大华侨找到了确证:一个新的撞击坑,证明嫦娥月照是真的。目前,我倒也不太怀疑嫦娥月照有假。但这个证据跟我的直觉不太符合。
局部:箭头所指是欧阳先生指出的新坑,直径约3km

Academician Ouyang presented in Shanghai Wenhui lecture and said a Canadian Chinese had found an ironclad proof: a new crater, proving the moon picture taken by Chang'e was real. At present, I don't suspect the authenticity of the moon image sent back by Chang'e very much, but that proof is not in complete accord with my intuition.
Part: The arrow points at the new crater which Mr. Ouyang mentioned. The diameter is about 3km.

放大一看,一下子就很可疑了:新坑的左边缘上居然还叠加了一个小坑,连续这么两件事情发生于过去2年,几乎不可能。
仔细看 Google Moon上那个所谓老坑,岂不是也在左边缘上叠着一个小坑吗?
难道欧阳院士指错了?右上方紧挨着的才是新坑?仔细看,发现不然,详见楼下。

After enlarging the different part of the two images, it becomes very suspicious right away: another smaller crater is surprisingly located on the left edge of the new crater. It's almost impossible that two heavenly bodies hit at the same spot of the moon surface just during two years.
Pay attention to the so called old crater on Google Moon. Isn't there a small crater also on the left edge?
Is academician Ouyang wrong? Is the upper-right one the new crater? Absolutely not. Get more information in the next comparison.

疑问坑的局部

The part of the controversial crater

根据地形特征,从左向右推算(黄线),再从右向左推算(红线),结果发现走到中间错了位,嫦娥的两个坑对应的其实就是Google的一个坑。蓝线我怀疑是局部拼接线。

According to the terrain features, we first calculate from left to right (yellow lines), then from right to left (red lines), finally getting a dislocation in the middle, so the two craters shot by Chang'e are actually the same one of Google Moon. The blue mark I guess is the stitching line of that part.

进一步证据表明更可能是嫦娥图像处理人员的失误,而不是NASA。
看问题坑的南面有一个条索状物,在嫦娥图片中一劈为二了 (红色箭头所指)。注意参照黄色箭头所指的地标。

The evidence further illustrates it's more like Chang'e image manipulating personnel's mistake, but not NASA.
To the south of the crater in question, there is a strip of ground which is divided into two parts in the picture taken by Chang'e probe (the red arrow pointed at). Please compared it to the landmark pointed by the yellow arrows.

在这幅三维图里那个小坑的拼接是正确的:

The stitch of the small crater in the three-dimensional image is correct:

忽然发现一夜之间已经新闻铺天盖地,到处都在引用新撞击坑的说法,新浪甚至给出了详图。
请坛主、版主们只要能跟欧阳院士说上话的,赶紧告诉他老人家高姿态更正错误说法争取主动。经过虎照事件网民个个火眼金睛,如果确实是错误的话,即使我不发现,终究也难逃网民法眼,那时再解释就事倍功半了。

The explanation of new crater has been overwhelmingly spread and quoted by the news media and Sina even published detailed pictures. I hope the webmasters who can contact with academician Ouyang tell him to voluntarily admit the mistake and correct it as soon as possible. Every netizen has got a pair of penetrating eyes through the fake photo of South China Tiger. As long as it's a real mistake, some netizens will definitely expose it even if I didn't discover it before. Until that time, to give a reasonable explanation will become a very tough work for the authorities.

By Thursday evening, more than 29000 people have browsed through Beautiful Eyes's post in the online BBS while 178 left their comments. Whether the alleged new crater is a forgivable mistake, a shameful fault or actually existing there has become the focus among the netizens. Here are some of the comments:

作者:浪子崖
楼主的探索精神我表示佩服!!
这个错误从另外一个方面也证明了我们的嫦娥照片是真的!!仅仅是因为人为的拼接的缘故导致错误!
这个错误不大但也不小,毕竟是第一张照片啊! 我认为政府应该吸取华南虎的经验,如果确实属实,应该坦然承认并进行详细的解释,千万不要捂盖子! 甚至可以嘉奖这位网友,以彰显政府和科研部门的开放和坦诚!!

Author: Lang Ziya
I pay my tribute to the author (Beautiful Eyes)!!
This mistake from the other side has proved our Chang'e picture is real!! It's only some man-made stitching work that caused mistakes!
It's not a big error but also not a trivial matter. After all, this picture is the first one! I think the government must learn a lesson from the South China Tiger. If it is really true, they should be composed to acknowledge their fault and give a specific explanation, never covering up the fact! The government and scientific department can even reward this netizen (Beautiful Eyes) to show their opening and sincerity!!

作者:东东狐
很佩服楼主的火眼,呵呵
可是楼主用来比对的照片来自于googlemoon吧,我听到的更多消息是,美国的照片也是拼接的,而且是不同分辨率的照片拼接而成的,那么楼主是如何证明是嫦娥的照片错了,而不是美国的照片拼接错误?

Author: Dongdong Hu
Admiring the author's piercing eyes, ha ha
but the photo you (Beautiful Eyes) quoted in the comparison is coming from Google Moon and more information has told me the photo of US is also stitched by different images which are of different definitions. So how can you prove it's a mistake of Chang'e's picture but not America's?

作者:馒头簸箕
这还用讨论, 显然证明了轨道运行得不是那么精确的谣言, 19轨图像拼接的时候没有仔细作好几何校正。政治压力大, 一线干活的人太毛糙了。

Author: Mantou Boji
Do we need a discussion about this? It has obviously demonstrated the rumor that the probe's orbit is not that accurate. They didn't make careful geometric adjustments when pieced together the 19 images. High political pressure has made the working staff's work too crude.

作者:sun2100
作为嫦鹅工程的首席院士这样不负责任的性口信口雌黄实在有损国家形象,这样的官员应该立即下岗!不值得国人尊敬!

Author: sun2100
As the chief scientist of the lunar exploration program, his irresponsible statement is really a shame to the country. Such kind of official should be dismissed at once! He can't deserve the respect from the people!

作者:vicent
我觉得通过楼主的分析大家都能看出这个照片真假的问题没必要讨论了,肯定是真的,就是出了点错。不如小日本先进也不用比了,这个是事实,除了技术基础外,人家探测起步也比我们早,有同好说为什么不拍个地球的照片,其实很简单,看一下嫦娥的相机设计就知道了,纯粹是为了扫描月面设计的,更像一个扫描仪而不是相机,并且是固定的,没法象小日本那样回头拍一下地球,并且我们那个是黑白的。
事情发展到这个地步,ZF不能不反思一下宣传工作,开始大张旗鼓,然后就无声无息,等到质疑的声音出来后再匆匆应对,忙中出错,首席科学家也没有了应该的严谨,这一切把一个本该平实的科学探测活动搞得乌烟瘴气,ZF的公信力又一次被消费了。

Author: vicent
I think through the author (Beautiful Eyes)'s analysis everyone can see it's unnecessary to talk about whether the picture is true or not. It's absolutely a real one which just includes some mistakes. There's also no need to discuss if the Japan's lunar probe is more advanced than ours. It's a truth that Japan owns a better technology foundation and an earlier start of moon exploration. Someone asked why China's probe didn't take a photograph of the earth like Japanese did before. In fact it's very simple to understand after we see the Chang'e probe's camera structure which is totally designed for scanning the moon surface. Rather than a camera it's more like a scanning apparatus which can't rotate like Japan's lens that is able to turn back to take a picture of the earth. Besides, our moon picture is black-and-white.
Facing the present situation, the government has to make an introspection of the propaganda work that began on a grand scale and then kept silent. Hastily giving a reply after the querying voice had come out, the chief scientist also lost the necessary caution. All of that have messed up the lunar program which is supposed to be a plain scientific exploring activity. The credibility of the government has been consumed again.

作者:流星雨
所有听过欧阳先生报告的人,应该都会敬佩他的严谨和科学的态度。但是首席科学家也不是神,谁能保证一个人连续做2个半小时的报告而没有一点失误呢?欧阳先生对那个坑的说法也不是他自己的创造,而是来源于一个国外华侨提供的信息,他也是在报告前不久才看到的这个信息,只不过没有来得及仔细核实罢了,毕竟这只是一个科普报告,而不是做科研,我们有什么理由要他每一句话都一丝无缝呢?
对事物的分析要全面,对人的分析也应全面。请尊重我们的首席科学家。

Anyone who has heard Mr. Ouyang's report would admire his carefulness and scientific attitude. Even the chief scientist is not god, so who was able to guarantee that a man can continuously made a report for two and half hours without any mistake? During the lecture, Mr. Ouyang had explained the opinion of the new crater didn't belong to him but an overseas Chinese. He just heard it not long before the meeting, and didn't have enough time to examine and check the information. After all, what Ouyang did was just a popular science report rather than a research, so how can we demand his every word is completely accurate?
One thing should be analyzed overall, and it's the same to one man. Please pay tribute to our chief scientist.

Following Beautiful Eyes, some netizens continued to compare the two pictures by the image manipulating software like Photoshop. skyhobby, another registered member of Shanghai Astronomical Observatory online BBS, provided a screenshot which further supported Beautiful Eye's view:

楼主太牛了.果然是嫦娥一号图像拼接失误.我用photoshop作了一个简单的移位,就和google moon上的图像一样了.

The author (Beautiful Eyes) is fantastic. It's certainly an image stitching error of Chang'e-1 personnel. After a simple shift by Photoshop, the picture taken by Chang'e showed the same lunar surface with Google Moon.

It seems Beautiful Eyes's question to the new crater has evoked a new surge of controversy about the first moon picture photographed by Chang'e probe on China's Internet. However, the mainstream media of China still keep silent on the new question. A report titled by “Ouyang Ziyuan Refuted the suspicion that ‘the first image sent back by Chang'e-I copied the picture from US’ ” is still available in Xinhua's Chinese version website.

1 comment

  • The Planetary Society, a US NPO promoting space exploration, looked at it and concluded that the image is genuine. Apparently there was an error in aligning the images, so the “new” crater is a mistake, but the Chang picture is not taken from NASA. The images have different shadows, for example.

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