[geocentrism] Re: The resolution of Mars

  • From: "Jack Lewis" <jack.lewis@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <geocentrism@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 27 Nov 2007 12:40:18 -0000

Dear Regner,
I do understand what you are saying but I'm not expressing myself sufficiently well. Try reading this form Neville's website.


Dr. Neville Jones, Ph.D., M.Inst.P.


There seems to be some fundamental flaw in the almost universally-accepted astronomical data regarding the planet, Mars. For instance, on the 29.09.2003, the "Starwatch" column on page 22 of the UK’s Guardian newspaper reported that Mars was 72,000,000 km away from us, and that it subtended an angle of 19.4 – 20 arcseconds.

If Mars has a radius 0.5327 times that of the World (Encyclopaedia Britannica) and was really 72,000,000 km away, then it would indeed subtend the stated angle. However, the lower limit of human sight, corresponding to the wavelength for peak spectral sensitivity, 560 nm (Hecht and Williams, J. Gen. Physiol., 5, 1-34), is given by Born and Wolf as 24 arcseconds (Principles of Optics, sixth edition, p. 415). Now it should be noted that Born and Wolf’s tome is widely recognized as the foremost work on optics and that their figure of 24’’ represents an absolute minimum. In fact, the angular resolution of the human eye is usually taken as being about 1 arcminute (3 times bigger than the angular extent claimed for Mars‘ disc at the time in question).

If someone holds a pound coin between their finger and thumb and walks away from you, there will come a point when you can no longer see the coin. I.e., its angular dimension is too small for the optical instrument you are using (your eye in this case) to resolve. Exactly the same is true of a football, a hot air balloon or a planet. Mars is not emitting visible light any more than the coin is.

Mars is an object. A big object, fair enough, but nevertheless still an object. We see it because light is reflected off it, just the same as we see the pound coin between our friend's finger and thumb. It is sunlight that is reflected off the coin and it is sunlight that is reflected off Mars. Thus Mars is simply an illuminated object, like the coin, like a football, like blades of grass, etc.

The smallest object that can be detected by an optical instrument of circular entrance pupil is well-established and is given by something called the Rayleigh resolution criterion. This, in turn, depends upon only two things: the diameter of the aperture and the wavelength of the light. Distance does not come into it, for what we are talking about.

The eye is an optical instrument which obeys the Rayleigh resolution criterion. There is no question about this. Let's take the wavelength as 560-nm, corresponding to the peak spectral sensitivity of cones in the human retina. Let's take the maximum pupil aperture, which corresponds to a fully dilated (i.e., dark-adapted) pupil. This gives us the very maximum chance of seeing the object. What is the smallest illuminated object that we can see under these conditions? The answer to this question has been shown to be 24 arcseconds. This means that at the distance quoted to Mars, the claimed diameter of Mars is (well) below this limit. If the distance of 72,000,000 km is correct, then Mars' diameter must be bigger. Conversely, if the diameter is correct, then the distance to this planet must be much less. Possibly (almost certainly, in my opinion), both distance and diameter are wrong.

This point is based upon standard diffraction theory. It is all the more convincing if one bears in mind the fact that you do not need a totally dark-adapted eye to see Mars. It is (relatively) very large. It does not necessarily need to be bright (and indeed can be partially obscured by cloud). The angular resolution of the human eye under these circumstances, and at this wavelength, is one arcminute. The point? Secular data does not add up. Either the distance to Mars is wrong, or the size of Mars is wrong, or both.

The only effect that does tend to slightly increase the size of Mars is the spreading of its point spread function by the Earth's atmosphere. This is true only to a very small extent. It is a statistical effect and is important only for long-exposure images in telescopes. The response time of the cones in the fovea of the human eye make this spreading almost completely non detectable. (Through a telescope the only thing you will notice because of this is a slight blurring of features on Mars.) I repeat, then, that the accepted distance to Mars and the accepted diameter of Mars would make it completely indistinct at best and invisible at worst to an unaided human eye. On the contrary, it was a very sizeable nighttime object. Something is wrong. That something is the worldly data regarding Mars, for what we actually observed during the latter part of 2003, even if going out from a brightly-lit room and looking at Mars without waiting for our eye to adapt and dilate, was a distinct, sizeable orange disk.

In conclusion, based upon this data, Mars would have been invisible to the unaided eye, rather than the extremely brilliant object that we could all very easily see (this was a few weeks after its closest approach). Since the eye has been extensively studied in terrestrial laboratories, and since Fraunhoffer diffraction theory is very well established, it seems obvious, from the simple observation of any one of us, that earthly data regarding Mars is significantly incorrect.

Copyright © 2003-2005 Dr. N.T. Jones. All rights reserved.

----- Original Message ----- From: "Regner Trampedach" <art@xxxxxxxxxx>
To: <geocentrism@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Tuesday, November 27, 2007 10:26 AM
Subject: [geocentrism] Re: The resolution of Mars

Quoting Jack Lewis <jack.lewis@xxxxxxxxxxxx>:

Dear Regner,
The point I was making, or rather Neville was, is that for its distance and
size it should be invisible.

Exactly - and that was the point I was answering. I told you:
* It is still bright enough to be visible
* But it is too small to be resolved so you see it as a point,
 as opposed to an extended object, like a planetary disk.
We see the stars - they have far smaller angular diameters than
Mars - I hope even GC folks will agree to that.
The stars are unresolved.
No matter how large a conventional telescope you use, you will
still only see a point of light - not a round star like our Sun.
With interferometers you can actually see the size of a few of
the closest stars, but that is irrelevant for this point.

You need to distinguish between unresolved and invisible.
Unresolved means that you cannot distinguish it from a point,
but you can still see it if it is bright enough.

So what do you do when you measure something in
one way and the measure it in another way and get completely different


You find out that you are measuring two different things
- at least in this case.



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