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Question for Apollogists

Jack White

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Not 100% sure but it looks like this:


Would be easier (as always) if you would provide the mission and/or image number.

Thanks for the information. I thought that perhaps it was a video camera or movie camera.

Was it possible for it to take movies or videos? So it was only for ultraviolet photography?

I did not provide the image number so that I would get an "unbiased" reply about what

the instrument is.

Thanks to Monk for providing the clear image.


Edited by Jack White
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It is the Apollo 16 Far UV Camera / Spectrograph.



So the HBs know a little more about it:

Apollo Experiment Number: S 201 Apollo Missions: 16

Wt: 22 kg

Dim: 1 x 0.5 x 0.5 m (in zipped bag, i.e. before deployment)

"Description/Purpose: A miniature observatory that acquired imagery and spectra in the far-UV range (below 1600 angstrom). An advantage of the electronographic technique used was that it was completely insensitive to visible and near-UV light. The unit was supported between two vertical stanchions on a table so that it could swing vertically from 0 deg to 90 deg. This table was supported by a tripod and could rotate 360 deg horizontally. The main instrument was an f/1.0 Schmidt camera of 7.5 cm aperture. It had a 20 deg field of view (FOV) in the imaging mode, 0.5 deg x 20 deg in the spectrographic mode. Either of two corrector plates (LiF or CaF2) could be selected for different bands of UV.

The goals of the experiment were to 1) determine composition and structure of the upper atmosphere of Earth from its spectra 2) determine the structure of the geocorona and study day and night airglow and polar aurorae 3) obtain direct evidence of intergalactic hydrogen in distant galaxy clusters 4) obtain spectra and imagery of the solar wind and other gas clouds in the solar system 5) detect gasses in the lunar atmosphere, including volcanic gasses, if any 6) obtain spectra and colors of external galaxies in the far UV 7) obtain spectra and colors of stars and nebulae in the Milky Way 8) evaluate the lunar surface as a site for future astronomical observatories." (from: Catalog of Apollo Experiment Operations, NASA RP -1317, JSC)

This was a really neat looking instrument. It consisted of a telescope mounted on a tripod which sat in the LM shadow. It was gold plated for thermal control and, combined with John Young standing next to it, the pictures of it sitting in the LM shadow were spectacular. National Geographic magazine actually featured one of the pictures taken with this system.

NASA of course made a big noise about this being the "first observatory on the moon" or something like that. An interesting note is that the backup unit for this system was later installed on the Skylab ATM to image the comet Kahoutek.

Taken from: http://www.myspacemuseum.com/alsepl1.htm

See also: http://ares.jsc.nasa.gov/HumanExplore/Exploration/EXlibrary/docs/ApolloCat/Part1/UVC.htm

Always happy to help the HBs see the error of their ways.

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Here is some more information on this marvellous device. Firstly, the man who invented it.

Carruthers worked on obtaining images using the ultraviolet (UV) region of the electromagnetic spectrum. These are wavelengths of light that are shorter than those of visible light but longer than x-rays. Many elements, including hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon, have unique spectral lines in the far-UV region. Far-UV imaging enables scientists to detect and measure these elements in their unexcited or ground states. It provides more accurate measurements of the chemical compositions of planetary atmospheres and interstellar gases. It also provides information about solid particles in interstellar space and more accurate measurements of the energy emitted by very hot stars. Two of Carruthers's early publications, on the concentration of molecular hydrogen in interstellar space and on the far-UV spectroscopy and imaging of stars, established his reputation as a brilliant astrophysicist.

Examined Space with UVC

On November 11, 1969, Carruthers was awarded a patent for his "Image Converter for Detecting Electromagnetic Radiation Especially in Short Wave Lengths." Since the Earth's atmosphere absorbs most UV emissions, UV spectrographs and cameras operating in space provide much more information than those on Earth. For example, although prevalent on Earth, molecular hydrogen had never been detected in interstellar space because its spectral lines are in the far-UV and don't penetrate the Earth's atmosphere. To observe hydrogen in space, the interstellar medium must be illuminated by a distant star and the spectrum recorded.

During a 1970 sounding rocket flight, Carruthers's UV telescope and image converter provided the first proof of the existence of molecular hydrogen in interstellar space. Sounding rockets do not achieve orbit, but fly up about 120 miles. Carruthers's carefully calibrated instrument was designed to withstand the stresses of Earth's magnetic field, cosmic rays, and outgassing--the sudden vacuum of space. Furthermore its guidance system had to find and track the chosen star in the five minutes of the rocket's flight. Its camera system was electronically intensified to be very sensitive. The discovery of interstellar molecular hydrogen confirmed that hydrogen--the simplest, lightest, and smallest atom--is the predominant element in the universe.

The UVC was first tested on sounding-rocket flights in 1966. Then, on April 21, 1972, during the first lunar walk of the Apollo 16 mission, the astronauts placed the 50-pound (22-kilogram) UVC in the shadow of the lunar module. It was mounted on a tripod and gold-plated to protect it from overheating. In designing the UVC, Carruthers and his team had to consider the stress of the journey and ability of the instrument to function in a vacuum and under low-gravity conditions. It also had to be simple enough for the astronauts to operate. However, Carruthers had solved the most difficult of these problems during his sounding-rocket work. The instrument provided spectroscopic data in the wavelength range of 300 to 1350 angstrom units with a 30-angstrom resolution.

The UVC was a high priority for Apollo 16 and Carruthers was its principal investigator and chief engineer. The instrument took some 200 UV pictures of 11 selected targets. For the first time, scientists were able to examine large expanses of the Earth's atmosphere for concentrations of pollutants. In an historic picture, using a 20-minute exposure, the UVC provided the first full view of the Earth's hydrogen geocorona that extends thousands of miles into the far-outer atmosphere. It also took the first full images of the outer atmosphere airglow belts of ionized gases that reflect radio waves. It provided new far-UV images of more than 550 stars, nebulae, and galaxies. The film was removed from the camera and the UVC was left on the moon. However, the backup unit, with several modifications, was used on Skylab 4 for observations of comet Kohoutek in 1974. Although its telescope was not particularly powerful, the UVC demonstrated the utility of extraterrestrial observations that culminated with the Hubble Space Telescope. Carruthers was awarded NASA's Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal for his work on the project.

Now the camera:

Far Ultraviolet Camera/Spectroscope

Deep-space concentrations of hydrogen in interplanetary, interstellar and intergalactic regions will be mapped by this experiment using an instrument which gathers both photographic images and spectroscopic data in the far ultraviolet spectrum. This experiment will be the first such astronomical observation emplaced on the lunar


Earlier spectrographic searches for hydrogen sources in space from Earth-orbiting astronomical satellites were impaired by the "masking" effect of the Earth's corona. The instrument will be pointed toward such targets as nebulae, galaxy clusters and other galactic objects, intergalactic hydrogen, the solar bow cloud and solar wind, the lunar atmosphere and any possible lunar volcanic gases, and Earth's atmosphere and corona. Several astrophysicists have speculated that extremely hot hydrogen exists in intergalactic space and that hydrogen clusters may be detected between galaxies by an instrument such as the far UV camera / spectroscope.

The experiment includes a 75mm electronographic Schmidt camera with a potassium bromide cathode and 35mm film magazine and transport. Emplaced on a tripod in the LM shadow, the instrument is provided with a battery pack which is placed in the Sun at the end of its connecting cable. The spectroscope is fitted with lithium fluoride and calcium fluoride filters for detecting hydrogen Lyman-alpha radiation in the 1216 angstrom wavelength.

Measurements will range from 500 to 1550 angstroms for spectroscopic data and 1050 to 1550 angstroms and 1230 to 1550 angstroms in photographic imagery. Hydrogen gas clouds will be detected through differential measurements of the photo imagery.

Using the elevation/azimuth adjustments on the instrument mount, the crew will align the camera / spectroscope toward specific targets periodically during the three EVAs. Near the end of EVA 3, the camera film cassette will be retrieved for return to Earth.


Now some of the images.


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