Author Topic: The Popov/Bulatov "analysis" of Apollo 11's velocity vs time  (Read 12363 times)

Offline ka9q

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The Popov/Bulatov "analysis" of Apollo 11's velocity vs time
« on: February 09, 2015, 02:31:19 AM »
I know I've seen this one before, and it's possible it's been discussed here before:

http://www.aulis.com/apollo11saturn_v.htm

The basic claim is that an analysis of a shadow cast by the Apollo 11 stack as it punched through a deck of clouds "proves" the vehicle was going much slower than it should have been (by a factor of 9!) at that point in the launch.

It took me a few minutes, but I soon identified the quicksand on which they'd built their entire case: a private 8mm movie of the launch posted here on Youtube:



The authors go to great lengths to claim that the timestamps on the video transfer of the film are accurate, but just a casual viewing of the film immediately reveals a serious problem: everything happens far more slowly than in every other movie and videotape of the event. Apparently Popov and Bulatov don't know that 8mm cameras (like most motion picture cameras) have selectable frame rates. The higher the frame rate, the better the time resolution, the greater the film consumption rate, and the slower the action will appear when the film is shown at the standard frame rate. The camera owner probably considered the Apollo 11 launch important enough to burn a lot of film on it at a high frame rate.

But that was only their first bone-headed mistake. They claim that staging occurs at 162s in the film, on time according to NASA, when the launcher is surrounded by a big cloud of "hot gas". For a moment I rashly assumed they were talking about the plumes of the retro and ullage rockets. But I've learned through considerable experience to never, but never accept even the simplest factual claims from a hoaxer. Even if you think an idiot couldn't screw it up, check it anyway!

Sure enough, when I looked at that part of the film it was immediately obvious that what they took for staging was in fact the sudden formation of a vapor trail as the launcher rose into the cold stratosphere. The film ends long before staging actually occurs. Those familiar staging sequences were made with a large and expensive tracking camera platform with long lenses specifically designed for this sort of thing. There was no way that some guy with an 8mm handheld camera was going to see it so he either stopped filming or it ran out..

I do love tearing these things apart.

Edited to add: If I wrote up a critique of this paper, what are the chances that Aulis would publish it in the interests of the search for truth?  :)
« Last Edit: February 09, 2015, 02:55:38 AM by ka9q »

Offline onebigmonkey

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Re: The Popov/Bulatov "analysis" of Apollo 11's velocity vs time
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2015, 03:21:35 AM »
I saw this somewhere a bit ago (it may have been aulis), and like their supposed 'analysis' of parallax in Apollo photographs at some point in the 'research' they resort to what we in the trade call 'making shit up' in order to bend the numbers to their already defined conclusion.

I also dispute the claimed 'PhD' of the author.

Offline onebigmonkey

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Re: The Popov/Bulatov "analysis" of Apollo 11's velocity vs time
« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2015, 04:20:14 AM »
And a really quick squint at both CBS and ABC footage of the launch shows that the 'cloud punch' occurs at around 60-61 seconds (as calculated from a quick glance at youtube's timestamp).

This puts the altitude of the Saturn at around 21000 feet - well within the range of altitudes for cirrostratus of 18-40000 feet.

So there are multiple sources of footage that show the Saturn behaving exactly as it should, and they find one that doesn't and go with that one.

Offline ka9q

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Re: The Popov/Bulatov "analysis" of Apollo 11's velocity vs time
« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2015, 04:48:18 AM »
And a really quick squint at both CBS and ABC footage of the launch shows that the 'cloud punch' occurs at around 60-61 seconds (as calculated from a quick glance at youtube's timestamp).

This puts the altitude of the Saturn at around 21000 feet - well within the range of altitudes for cirrostratus of 18-40000 feet.
Yes. This occurs at the same time the Saturn is approaching Mach 1 and shock clouds are starting to form as seen in other camera views. (I think Mach 1 is nominally reached at +66 sec). Is that just a coincidence and the cloud shadow is just what it appears to be, or is some strange shock front behavior also involved in forming the shadow? (Fluid flow, sub or supersonic, has never been my forte.)
« Last Edit: February 09, 2015, 04:50:22 AM by ka9q »

Offline dwight

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Re: The Popov/Bulatov "analysis" of Apollo 11's velocity vs time
« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2015, 05:08:43 AM »
If the film was shot at 18fps, it is standard procedure to transfer it at 15 2/3 frames pesecond in order to have flicker free viewing. That obviously slows down the motion.
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Offline ka9q

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Re: The Popov/Bulatov "analysis" of Apollo 11's velocity vs time
« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2015, 05:24:06 AM »
If the film was shot at 18fps, it is standard procedure to transfer it at 15 2/3 frames pesecond in order to have flicker free viewing. That obviously slows down the motion.
I'm seeing a ratio that's more like 5:3, i.e., 1.66:1. If the film was transferred at the nominal 18 fps, that implies a filming frame rate of 30 fps. The narrator who took the film sounds like an American, so I presume the transfer was done to NTSC video. When I still frame the video and count the number of different film frames in one second, it appears to be around 18.

Offline dwight

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Re: The Popov/Bulatov "analysis" of Apollo 11's velocity vs time
« Reply #6 on: February 09, 2015, 05:54:39 AM »
Yeah it is a bit of an unknown. How Aulis could treat that as solid evidence is dishonest to say the least. The other transfer mode is to project at 30fps and then slow down the video to approximately 18fps. Either method is not accurately representing a true 18fps speed.
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Offline Allan F

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Re: The Popov/Bulatov "analysis" of Apollo 11's velocity vs time
« Reply #7 on: February 09, 2015, 06:12:50 AM »
I believe the shadow thing has been discussed before. It's the shadow of the stack AND the exhaust they measure. The exhaust plume is - even though quite bright - not transparent to sunlight.
Well, it is like this: The truth doesn't need insults. Insults are the refuge of a darkened mind, a mind that refuses to open and see. Foul language can't outcompete knowledge. And knowledge is the result of education. Education is the result of the wish to know more, not less.

Offline ka9q

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Re: The Popov/Bulatov "analysis" of Apollo 11's velocity vs time
« Reply #8 on: February 09, 2015, 06:16:30 AM »
Well, it's interesting that I get an apparent camera frame rate of 30 fps. I wonder if the guy was thinking about having his film transferred to video. I understand that was common practice when TV shows were shot on film.

Offline ka9q

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Re: The Popov/Bulatov "analysis" of Apollo 11's velocity vs time
« Reply #9 on: February 09, 2015, 06:19:05 AM »
I believe the shadow thing has been discussed before. It's the shadow of the stack AND the exhaust they measure. The exhaust plume is - even though quite bright - not transparent to sunlight.
Maybe, but you can resolve the entire "discrepancy" with the fact that the film is not in real time as claimed. Not only was the Saturn moving faster than shown, but the "cloud punch" is actually much earlier in the launch when it should be moving much more slowly.

Offline ka9q

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Re: The Popov/Bulatov "analysis" of Apollo 11's velocity vs time
« Reply #10 on: February 09, 2015, 06:30:40 AM »
They do claim to have "proved" the film speed correct by the timing of tower clear matching the advertised 9 seconds. But one look at the film makes it obvious that its poor quality makes an accurate measurement impossible. The smoke and flame is backlit by the morning sun and seriously overexposes the film. It's hard to see the Saturn clearly at liftoff but I could approximate the time by swingarm retraction, which occurs just after first motion. It was harder to pinpoint tower clear because of the overexposed flame obscuring the bottom end of the S-IC. Combine these inaccuracies with the slowness of the liftoff and you can get almost any tower-clear time you want.

In any event, once the Saturn clears the tower it becomes absolutely obvious that the film is much slower than real time.

Offline onebigmonkey

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Re: The Popov/Bulatov "analysis" of Apollo 11's velocity vs time
« Reply #11 on: February 09, 2015, 06:45:53 AM »
And added to that is the fact that the time difference between the actual event and the film's depiction of an event  at the start of the launch is going to be much smaller than later on, so it would be easy to explain away a small discrepancy in timings at the start and claim normal running time.

Offline Bob B.

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Re: The Popov/Bulatov "analysis" of Apollo 11's velocity vs time
« Reply #12 on: February 09, 2015, 12:21:34 PM »
For those interested, here is a two-year old thread on this topic:

Anyone familiar with this 'claim' at Aulis.com?


Offline JayUtah

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Re: The Popov/Bulatov "analysis" of Apollo 11's velocity vs time
« Reply #13 on: February 09, 2015, 02:07:08 PM »
I also dispute the claimed 'PhD' of the author.

Vehemently.  There is a growing trend of citing Russian authorities whose purported credentials and activities are nearly impossible to verify.  There seems to be no end of "Russian physicists" crawling out of the woodwork to verify any and every crackpot theory some Westerner wants to make.  And as you can see, they have no actual skill at science.
"Facts are stubborn things." --John Adams

Offline JayUtah

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Re: The Popov/Bulatov "analysis" of Apollo 11's velocity vs time
« Reply #14 on: February 09, 2015, 02:14:39 PM »
The exhaust plume is - even though quite bright - not transparent to sunlight.

Most liquid-fuel plumes are transparent to sunlight, counterintuitively so even for incandescent ones.  Do we have any specific data on the Saturn V?
"Facts are stubborn things." --John Adams