Re:Looking for citizens' visual or radio obs of Apollo lunar missions

From: Greg Roberts (
Date: Mon Oct 28 2002 - 04:06:00 EST

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    Hi All
    Saw Teds message re the above when catching up on my mail today.
    I was able to observe the APOLLO 11 mission with the 20 inch reflector and
    26.5 inch refractor at the Republic Observatory, South Africa where I was
    working at the time. Full details of the observations made on two successive
    nights were published in a report put out by BELLCOM ( I think) which
    detailed all the observations they had collected( about a hundred page
    document).  I should still have my copy somewhere but will have to hunt for
    it. The tracking data was supplied by BELLCOM and was "spot on" - several
    objects were seen in the area and it was possible to identify which was
    which on the two nights from their optical characteristics.
    I am not sure, at the moment, if I saw any further APOLLO missions - I
    recall trying some but bad weather prevented such.
    The Royal Observatory in Cape Town was able to observe the APOLLO 13 mission
    if memory serves me correctly. I believe they got photographic positional
    data. The person who did this was the late Wally Grimwood - I doubt if there
    is anyone left at the Royal Observatory ( now S.A.Astronomical Observatory)
    who will remember this as it was a long time ago...
    If memory also serves me correct I seem to recall that Mike McCants observed
    an Apollo mission  with an 18 inch refractor ( correct Mike ? or am I
    talking bull? was the telescope at Gransby ? in Mass .USA(?) ).
    Further optical reports on Apollo observations will be found in the
    publications of the Western Satellite Research Network (WSRN) that used to
    be run by North American Aviation but ceased operation many years ago - top
    lights in this organisation were such people as Jim Williams ( I think he is
    now/was  at JPL?) etc.
    If anyone wants further info please contact me and I will dig up the BELLCOM
    report and possibly some WSRN reports.
    It always amuses me that people doubt the Apollo missions took place. When I
    was still working at the S.A.Astronomical observatory as an Astronomer one
    of my more "exciting" duties was to deal with public enquiries/letters etc
    and of course the public produced weird and wonderful theories about the
    universe etc and how astronomers were hiding the truth from the world about
    mysterious planets heralding the end of the world etc - we would try and
    reason with them but nothing we could say would convince them we were not "
    part of the conspiracy"  to hide the truth. Some people believe anything and
    are not prepared to use common sense...
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