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Armstrong/Aldrin, how far apart in photo?.........

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I can't find anything on the www and I'm not smart enough to do the math just by looking at the photo.




I have the Revell kit of Armstrong on the moon. I've wanted to convert/correct the figure to represent Aldrin in the above iconic photo. When chatting with my much better half, Su, I mentioned I had two of these kits. She then suggested I do a diorama with Armstrong taking Aldrins picture. ( She is absolutely evil......)




So, my question is, how far apart were the two of them when he shot the photo above. With any luck. it will be too far to be a practical diorama.......

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Oh thank god, thank you so much. If I was to do an accurate diorama as my-much-better-half has suggested, that would make it about 4 feet long, totally impractical.....

Now I can do Armstrong alone taking the picture and leave it at that.

Can't thank you enough.....


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The sun elevation angle at the time of landing was about 10.8° and this change about 0.5° per hour. Since Aldrin picture was taken about 8 hours after landing the sun elevation was about 15°. If you consider that Armstrong was about 1.90 m high with his spacesuit and helmet this gives a shadow length of 7.3 m. Armstrong shadows goes slightly behind Aldrin's feet so I would say the distance between the two men is between 6.5 and 7 m or between 22 and 23 ft.

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4 hours ago, CaptKirk said:

...which when you allow for scale effect and earth gravity compensation would put them about 6" apart - so it's game on for the 2 figure diorama!!


Um...your math is off.  24 feet apart in this scale would not be 6", it would be about 48" or 4 feet. No place to put it.....

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OK since my other hobby is photography there's another way to estimate the distance.


The "moon cameras" were modified Hasselblad 500EL cameras fitted with Biogon 60mm f/5.6 lenses.  With the 53 x 53 mm negative size of the 500EL the 60mm lens gives a "square" field of view of 47 degrees W x H (63 degrees across the diagonal).  Assuming the photo is "full frame" (not cropped) you can use basic trigonometry to figure out how far away the subject is from the camera.


Without loading the image into editing software and counting pixels, it looks like Aldrin's image is about 2/3 of the height of the image, which would subtend an angle of roughly 30 degrees.  Aldrin is about 5'  10", add lunar boot soles and helmet clearance and let's say the height of a suited astronaut is 6' 4" (76" or 1.93 m).  A quick trig exercise results in [38/(tan15)] or about 142" = 11' 10" = ~3.6 meters.  For a 1/8 scale kit that would be about 18"  (45 cm) separation.


But since it  was all faked....  😉




Edited by habu2
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Here's what I did in autocad...I took the landing chart that shows where each photo was taken from. In this case the visor shot is AS11-40-5903. In it you can see the tip of the landing probe is directly in line with Neil and Buzz. The chart show there was another photo taken from the opposite side, AS11-40-5917. I overlaid the image from LRO and scaled it based on the landing pads. I marked the two photo locations for reference. Since they are in line with the probe I extended a line from Neil's position through it to the small crater on the LRO image. Offset 12" circles from his position and it comes to +/- 19' to the edge of the little crater depression behind Buzz. Pretty close to my original estimate of +/- 20' I made on my phone. I think the arrows pointing direction of photos are just slightly off.


I can't get the image to imbed, but here's the link


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You actually believe there is a moon? 😆


Seriously, I think anything you do should be fine. I don't think enough people would be concerned if you took artistic license and put them however you like. but I do admire the search for accuracy. Good luck!



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Firstly, I can't thank you all enough for your input, it has chided in well for helping me make a serious decision as to how to proceed.

".... you can use basic trigonometry...." seriously?

I'm agreeing that the average truth seems to put Armstrong/Aldrin about 19' apart.

Looking at photos, scaling with dividers from known dimensions, we can kinda come to the same conclusions the math did.




A specific dimension from pad to pad would be helpful but I can find no drawing with that call out. 

We can use the 3' dimension called out and use it to fairly accurately scale the photo below.






Armstrong seems to be standing about halfway between the lander legs. Aldrin about 4-6 feet beyond the pad in front of him.




If the Revell figures are 12" tall, a 6' tall figure would be 1/6 scale. The 19' apart would make the figures in the dio 38" apart. A little cheating could bring them in to say 34"-36" apart.

Still a pretty long piece. I seem to recall a resin figure of either Aldrin or Armstrong in the stash that is perhaps 6" tall, maybe smaller. Maybe that would be a better place to start.

As Su, (who is the one that got me down this rabbit hole to begin with...) has reminded me, we are actively house hunting so packing and moving is in our future in the next 4-6 months so a project of this magnitude should be put aside for later. But, that little guy in the stash could easily be done.








Thanks again for all your help, even if I go the little guy route for now, I have all the data I need to do an accurate rendition of that iconic photo being taken.



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