Can Astronauts See Stars In Space?

In Science by Brian Koberlein156 Comments

On the face of it, this might seem like a silly question. Of course we can see stars in space. We see stars more clearly from space than we do from Earth, which is why space telescopes are so useful. And yet, this question comes up again and again. Not just from moon landing skeptics and fringe science promoters, but from everyday folks who are sure they learned somewhere that stars can’t be seen in space.

When overexposed, the Moon seems to glow brilliantly. Credit: Bob King/Sky and Telescope

When overexposed, the Moon seems to glow brilliantly. Credit: Bob King/Sky and Telescope

The origin of this misconception is usually traced back to an interview with the crew of Apollo 11, where (it is claimed) Neil Armstrong said he couldn’t see stars in space. What the crew were actually discussing at the time was the inability to see stars on the daylight side of the Moon, which is not surprising given how bright the lunar surface can be relative to the airless black of space. Even in space the stars aren’t overly bright, and our eyes can lose dark adaption pretty quickly.

An image from the ISS of stars and glowing layers of Earth's atmosphere.

An image from the ISS of stars and glowing layers of Earth’s atmosphere.

But what about all those photos of objects in space, such as the one of the international space station seen above? There’s no stars to be seen in the image. It’s actually quite common to see images of planets and other objects against a starless black background. Doesn’t that support the idea of a starless sky in space? No, since it’s no surprise that an image focused on a bright object like a planet or moon won’t have a long enough exposure to see stars clearly. There are plenty of images from space that do show stars, as well as other faint phenomena such as the green airglow of our atmosphere.

What this misconception really shows is how easily a misconception can get locked into our heads. We can all fall prey to the trap of holding misconceptions without really thinking about them. That’s part of the reason why we focus on published and verifiable evidence in science.

Which is why this isn’t such a silly question after all.


  1. Author

    Some folks simply can’t be reasoned with. From an email comment: “I’ve been going through a few astronauts interviews and I’ve yet to see the question answered from an actual astronaut.I understand that you’re a physicist but to boldly claim that an astronaut can visibly see stars with their own two optical eyes aren’t you speaking for the astronaut without physically being in space to make this conclusion for yourself. I just think that your article is intentionally misleading your readers.”

    The first video that comes up from a basic Google search? Astronaut James Reilly Describes Seeing Stars in Space


    1. We’ve tweeted several ISS astronauts, both ex and actual in situ ( Tim Peake ) as to whether they are able to see some stars or planets when looking beyond the earth horizon when orbiting over the daylight side. No reply has been forthcoming, nor does there appear to be a definitive yes or no in any literature by an astronaut on the subject. Does this strike anyone as odd in the light of Armstrong’s statement?

      1. Author

        Hey, this guy I don’t know, who probably gets hundreds of tweets a day, didn’t reply to my question. He must be covering something up!

        There is a definitive answer to the question. Astronauts can see stars in space, you just don’t want to accept that answer for some reason.

    2. To be fair, I love reading NASA transcripts and always hear astronauts describe how beautiful the round earth looks… but I never read them describing the stars. I’ll keep searching.

    3. At the point where darkness and light meet, can astronauts see the light on one side of space and the stars on the other, dark side of space (meaning at the same time)?

    4. Savage. xD

      Nice one, answered my query perfectly in both the article and the video.

      It IS a misconception to assume the inability to see stars, but to be fair, those calling ALL of us ponderers ‘conspiracy theorists’ will have to give some credit…not all of us jump to the conclusion that this or that answer is a cover up, rather, many more of us seek out the answer to the query as I did just now. Personally, I trust science and especially the information that NASA has presented so far, relative (haaa) to space exploration. If their information releases were downright lies and cover-ups, then we’ve more than reached the point, now, where other professional bodies opposed to the same cover-ups would have spoken out. Instead, we’re stuck with nut-jobs that still think the planet is a plate to use as the opposition and ‘trustworthy source’. With over seven billion replications and reiterations of humans, I think we’re starting to hit the bottom of the gene pool in some areas…

      I, like many of us, have read books, seen films and played games that each portray what space would look like to the human eye in different ways and opinions, and that’s what got ME wondering about it – I couldn’t really care much if stars were extremely difficult to view with the naked eye in space, to be honest – I’m writing a science-fiction novel, and if it comes to describing stars as an interlude at some point, I want it to remain real – not fabricated, as if our universe somehow isn’t gorgeous and astounding as it is.

    5. Liar you bought and sold out liar.There is no space .We live on a Flat Earth in a Dome PERIOD .STOP the LIES ..There is a greater evil .STOP the lieing. Especially when you had several astronauts tell me, and I quote ,We are self contained , we cant go further …The shuttle jets in.” Wither you guys started the flat earth movement as a ploy or not. doesn’t matter. When Yahushua followers such as I am are commanded to tell the truth when we know of it. i am doing so. Don’t be sheepeople any longer ..Rise up.. I was a sheepeople once 2,and continue to learn..just learn as I have learned

      We don’t have time for the world earth society (nwo)
      oh what a tangled web we weave when we practice to deceive.. the rabbit hole is very very deep. Your Such a Tavistock.
      54:5 O you kings, O you mighty, who inhabit the world you shall
      behold my Elect One, sitting upon the throne of my glory.
      And he shall judge Azazeel, all his associates, and all his
      hosts, in the name of the Lord of spirits.
      oh yeah maybe about 23 secs in:
      Till All shall See ..Again
      John 3:17

        1. Wow. Hell of planet we got here, ain’t it? Full of very… ‘interesting’, uh… people. 🙂 Well, let’s see…first of all…

          Let’s break this one down, shall we…

          Have you ever SEEN the Milky Way on a clear night? Stars I mean, somewhere on Earth where it is really really dark at night? Well, you see a whole lot’a stars. Tons of stars. Hell, you can see the freaking center of the galaxy, 30,000 Light Years away. You can see so many starts is looks like paint strewn across the sky, everywhere. Solid silver, white, red, blue, violet. Like dust with gemstones everywhere, shining. Glittering.

          Well, if you haven’t seen this you should. You have not lived properly until you have seen this at least once. You’ll walk away from it a different person. Now if you have seen this, it should not be hard to follow this line of reasoning…

          Logical deduction, or some form of scientific method, combined with even the most rudimentary reasoning, would lead one to deduce that if you are on a planet behind the atmosphere and in partial darkness while the sun is on the other side of said planet (or the other side of the Wafer, for those of you who like-it flat (bahahahalolol… ha…ha…ha) – oh, right sorry… where as I…) Right, when its dark, from Earth you can see stars pretty well through a thick atmosphere. So now, don’t you think that if you went to the other side of that same atmosphere, say at the exact same moment in time (straight up as it were say 500 miles) that you would see at least as many stars? In fact, at the very least you would see the exact same stars, a lot brighter and more clearly? Well? Of course you would. How could you possible not. You see them from Earth because they are THERE! lol They do not go away just because you are in space. Like on Earth, they are only not visible when it is light out! Wow!

          So what, now we gonna have the “Black Space Society”? “There are no stars in Space.” ? Right. You do not have to be a rocket scientist to figure this one out. Although I am sure it helps. 🙂

        2. hey tell me what amount of blue shift is measured when you take a sunlight spectrum in space as opposed to at sea level?

          1. Author

            The difference is really small. Seen in space (About 100km up) vs sea level is a difference of about 10 parts in a trillion. Measurable, but in no way noticeable to the human eye.

      1. In view of your answer, I come to the conclusion that you have told nonsense .. your outdated ideas from the Middle Ages only have a grip on the mentally retarded from our society. you know: the earth is round … I know it will arrive as a shock .. but do not worry, you’ll ever become a normal person.

    6. Why we cannot see star at night from the ISS High definition camera? An astronaut have write in the journal around the year 2000, we can see nothing else than our earth from the MIR station.

    7. Hello

      In an interview with Sir Patrick Moore, Neil Armstrong said that you could not see stars either on the moon or in ‘cislunar’ space.

      1. Author

        Someone didn’t read the article nor the comments. This has been said numerous times. However one person’s observation (even Armstrong’s) doesn’t negate the fact that we have observed stars in space.

    8. Some folks think they know everything when they know nothing at all except what the mind-mongers wants them to believe. Fortunately the truth is out there and the truth will always ridicule the lie. The truth is that the earth’s atmosphere acts as a giant lens around the earth which hugely assists the human eye in seeing the stars. Without this ‘lens’ around the earth it is impossible to see the stars. So where does this leave us? At the fact that the American public has been fleeced out of trillions of dollars to line the pockets of the mind-mongers. Nobody ever went to the moon or any other planet, It is impossible.

        1. What if you are wrong? I’m not saying you are, but I am asking you to open your mind up to the possibility that you and millions of others have been fooled into believing this thing called space. Once you look into things with a critical point of thinking, many things we have been told seem to break down. I would love space to exist, but until I go there and see it for myself, it is merely my belief that it might be there. Social conditioning has a hold of many of us. Mr Author this is an extremely arrogant thing to say. Take care out there folks.

          1. Author

            “What if you are wrong? I’m not saying you are“… “you and millions of others have been fooled into believing this thing called space”…

            ineffective concern troll is ineffective…

  2. Thank you for your answer. I always thought you could see the stars from space and this confirmed it. It’s all a matter of where and at what time your looking of course. I dig space! It’s full of wonder.

    1. Stars must be visible to humans from the ISS or everywhere else in space. However, for photos from, and of, the ISS to show stars, I’d expect that they’d have to hold longer camera shutter exposure. And longer exposure means blurred star streaks painted across the dark space because the ISS is moving about 17,500 mph in its orbit around Earth. So any photo or video of a brightly lit object in space (e.g., ISS, space shuttle, moon, astronauts on spacewalk) taken even while on Earth’s dark (night) side would have black space all around it. A normal exposure photo would not capture stars onto an image.

      As such, any video out there that shows the ISS flying around Earth with the Milky Way Galaxy in the background has to be fake. If the stars could be photographed in real time, at all, by normal video or still exposure, they’d appear to be no more visible than a nighttime photo you’d take of your car under with a flood light shining on it here inside Earth’s atmosphere. You won’t see stars in the background sky when you view the photo. So to capture the stars from the ISS, you’d need longer exposure, which would give you bright curvy streaks across the darkness of space as the ISS zips around the planet once every 90 minutes.

      So how does the Hubble Space Telescope manage to take pictures of galaxies and nebulae? The answer is that it is a telescope assembly equipped with a gyroscope to orient it to any point in space and keep its gaze unbroken for extended periods of time without flinching or losing focus. It is not a mere camera but a highly sophisticated imaging system. The ISS, as far as we can tell, is just a human outpost without sophisticated astronomy gear.

      I hope that helps.

    2. From the space station you can not see space, only look through a band of atmosphere above Earths’ surface. To see space there would need to be windows looking away from Earth, and there are none in use except under very rare and not well publicised experiments. So technically, the question should be “can stars be seen from the ISS”, to which the answer is obviously Yes, but as we can not see space from the ISS (looking directly away from Earth, as we do from the surface), then if stars can be seen from space, with a regular camera, is a different matter.

        1. How so? The viewing geometry from the Cupola is fairly straight forward.

          1. Author

            Prove you can’t see space from the ISS. I met this astronaut once that said you could, so you’re wrong.

        2. Space can be seen from the ISS if the astronaut is on a top-side EVA, but not from within the Cupola. Numerous EVA astronauts who have had had the chance to look away from Earth while during the night portion of the orbit say it is totally black out there, as did Neil Armstrong while in cislunar space, and no photos of the stars or planets or even the Sun were ever taken by Apollo crews while in cislunar space. It is Earths atmosphere that makes the heavens visible to us from Earth, and from the Cupola the line of sight to the stars or planets MUST pass through Earths atmosphere, the geometry is simple.
          Sir William Herschel stated 200 years ago that it was our atmosphere that created the light, and heat, that we sense on Earth, and this has never been experimentally disproven.

          1. Author

            Numerous astronauts have stated you can see stars in space. And you admit space can be seen from the ISS. So it’s clear you are wrong. You can see stars in space.

        3. “You can see stars in space.”
          I’ll wait ’till the experiments are performed, empirical science, before I’ll accept that statement.

  3. You can’t see stars from space. If it is there would have been billons of photos from ISS when earth is dark and we would be seeing crystal clear milky way galaxy from ISS. The reason something not there because you can’t see stars. Now how Hubble space have stars? Well hubble space interpret non visible light. There are many many apollo photo in space with nearly 99% dark area and you won’t see stars. To take that photo they should had bigger aperture beacuse almost no light . No rbight object focussed. AND NO STARS either. There is no atmosphere to pollute the space. So if you are not focussing on bright object like earth , moon or sun , you must see stars. We never see stars because it seems like you can’t see stars without atmosphere. That brings one interesting question. if you can’t take picture without atmosphere then all moon photos are fake if moon has no atmosphere. 🙂

    1. Hi Trut-As-I-know, You are absolutely right. The atmosphere acts as a huge lens that concentrates star-light onto the human eye. Without this assistance no one can see the stars, So you are right, the hubble and the moon fhotos are all fake

  4. It’s actually not too difficult to find Neil Armstrong saying very clearly that you can’t see the stars either from the moons surface or from the craft windows when in transit through space – the phrase he uses to describe space is “deep black”. He could see the sun and earth only. The interview link is below and there is no ambiguity about what is being said. The visors and windows for later Apollo missions were fitted with filters to allow the stars to be visible. The stars lack of visibility is also validated by modern high altitude balloon missions and sky drivers and the other early Appollo astronughts before the craft and visors were retrofitted.

    In terms of explanation, the stars being visible on earth is a function of the light passing through our atmosphere before arriving at our eyes. We see the light hitting matter rather than the light itself, at least that is the theory according to people like Eric Dollard. We don’t see light itself on earth either if you think about it, we see the light hitting objects and we then ‘see’ those objects. Eric would say you can’t see the sun either without the right visor material.

    In terms of space photo telescopes remember that most of the photos we see are of non visible light (to the human eye) light being transformed into spectacular color renderings so we can then see them – that’s not what we would ‘see’ with the natural eye. Also a camera is a rough analogue of the human optical process at best. Being able to photograph something doesn’t mean we can see it.

    Maybe an interesting way to approach the question can we see the stars in space is to ask why we expect to be able to ? Isn’t that just because we see them from Earth. This is confirmation or expectation bias in the reasoning and helps explain the often emotional reactions from people presented with counter information.

    1. Author

      Countless astronauts have made clear they observe stars in space. The Apollo 13 crew has talked about how they used stars to align their spacecraft during their harrowing mission. Unfortunately folks like you and Dollard continue to cherry pick this video. Armstrong talking about how he didn’t see stars is not remotely the same claim as saying no one can see stars in space.

      1. Some of these commenters don’t seem to understand the difference between reflected light, by which we see non luminous objects, and emitted light by which we would see stars in space.

        1. You can’t see a filament in a light bulb if you put your eye right against the bulb, because the filament is in a vacuum. Note: Don’t attempt this experiment! I lost one eye doing this. I can’t be sure if I went blind first, or the light wasn’t visible. I think the light wasn’t visible, so, there are no stars visible in space!

          On a more serious note, you should be able to allay your concerns about seeing light in a vacuum by placing a photodetector and an emitter in a vacuum chamber. There is no issue. The human eye uses photopigment, but doesn’t need the atmosphere to do a bunch of hocus pocus to photons before they interact with electrons in the photopigment. Take a ride in a boat on a great lake, and see the horizon.

    2. It’s also very easy to find Armstrong talking about how many stars he could see when the moon wasn’t in daylight.

      071:59:20 Armstrong: Houston, it’s been a real change for us. Now we’re able to see stars again and recognize constellations for the first time on the trip. It’s – the sky is full of stars. Just like the night side of Earth. But all the way here, we’ve only been able to see stars occasionally and perhaps through the monocular, but not recognize any star patterns.
      071:59:52 McCandless: I guess it’s turned into night up there really, hasn’t it?
      071:59:58 Armstrong: Really has

  5. “But what about all those photos of objects in space, such as the one of the international space station seen above?”

    That’s not a photo… it’s a CGI, mede in computer. Why don’t you tell the truth?

  6. that image from iss with the stars is comletly garbage… its just a computer image and cgi, nothing more… I can see stars from the surface of the earth with all the atmosphere in front of my eyes but I can not see the same stars from the space ” the vacumme” – no atmosphere at all, no polution, no clouds and nothing? They show you a funny image instead of a film, movie or a clip with stars that are visible. They do not because any amator who is into stars can tell where and when ISS will be on the so called orbit around the earth

    1. Author

      Are you seriously claiming that NASA doesn’t release photos of stars on the ISS because then amateurs could track the space station? Do you realize there are countless apps that will tell you specifically where to look for the ISS as it passes overhead? Not that you’ll be convinced, but we even have Apollo 16 film photographs (yes, actual film!) of stars taken from the surface of the Moon in the vacuum of space that (gasp!) show stars.

      1. Brian, I have enjoyed reading your posts on the stars – space fascinates me. My question is on the belief of some in the flat earth. I personally do not believe that at all. They say there are no real photos of the earth, that they are computer-generated. If so, why can’t they show a real photo of their “flat earth?” Keep up the good work! Please answer via email in case I lose this site. Linda

  7. Dear Mr. Koberlein, although I was looking for where on Earth does one go to see the night skies like one does in photographs or movies with “moondust” and a pile of stars all jammed together that they appear fuzzy or blurry. I been looking it seems like forever w/o any luck. I posted this very question on a NYS website and now crossing my finger’s in anticipation of a positive response. Whatever. I been to AZ. where I been told I would get what I was looking for. However wonderful AZ. is and all the light shows I got were “out of this world” I never came close to any photograph. Is it from too many wacks to the grape? The angle? My eye’s? I’ll never give up and heaven is just fantastic regardless of the angle. This all being said when I read your article I gotta say that your words and wit made me smile. Thanks a lot(no joking). ))) Sincerely, Me.)))

    1. Author

      On some level what you see in photographs will never compare to what you see with your eyes. Many photographs are either long exposures, or multiple exposures combined to get the faintest of stars to appear in the image. Typically things just aren’t dark enough for us to see such a comparison. The richest night sky I’ve personally seen has been in the Atacama desert in northern Chile.

      1. This whole thing about long exposure is not true. You can have a wide open aperture say at f2 with an iso of 8000 and your exposure time would be seconds and record many stars .
        Any more than 27 seconds and you get trails anyway.
        You need matter to see stars. They are not what we are told in this case.
        Wormholes and not matter nuclear detonation.
        This reality is a multi dimensional hologram at different vibration states.
        Conventional science is there to keep people in the dark They would not have power if you knew the trutht.

        1. Author

          So let me get this straight. Thousands of scientists are conspiring together to keep people in the dark by claiming you can see stars in space? All to hide the truth that the universe is a hologram with wormholes? Seriously?

  8. I have been doing CGI, video and graphics in general for 20 years. This image is Photoshop. First of all, those layers of Oxygen and Sodium are 2D added. They are just THERE, there is no 3D natural degrading colors. Its 2D circles. You know why? Because its almost impossible to do it to a 2D photo. It is best done in video, and you had no video there, so everyone should know, its an edited, fake photo. I can stake my life on it. TRUST ME, I KNOW.

    And by the way, I saw that every astronaut is smiling and laughing like every other talkshow host. My parents were one of the best couple in atomic physics GLOBALLY. Every interview EVER with any of them, multiple patents, phds, 1st deg researchers for a life time, multiple conferences, inventions in gas & liquid laser fields, they NEVER, EVER, E V E R, laugh and have fun like a sports personality while talking about their field of work. If its serious work, you’ve got to respect it. These people laughing and joking about space walks and space life is mind blowing!!!

    You know what the first questions of my father was when I told him that astronauts can’t seems to photograph stars from space because of the bright light of the moon, earth, sun, exposure, super-speed of the ISS etc, was?

    “Why don’t they turn their back to the light source? And what about that speed? It has zero significance. It should be insignificant in the vast space distances.”

  9. If the ISS circles the Earth in 90 minutes, how is it possible that NASA video “The world outside my window ” time lapse of earth from the ISS,
    Show the same group of stars for at least 45 minutes (half an orbit of earth by ISS) from the ISS,it shows these same stars the whole time , which I’m told is 45 minutes, although I think the earth does more than half an orbit, or I should say the ISS does more than half an orbit.

    If stars are visible behind earth from the ISS, how can they remain visible for 45 minutes, when the ISS has circled around to the other side of earth?

    The video is time lapsed and sped up, but surely if the ISS travels from one side of earth to the other (45 minutes) it’s impossible for a group of stars to remain visible the whole time ?

    Looking forward to someone explaining this to me.



    1. Author

      It depends upon the orientation of the shot. The Earth rotates on its axis, so stars near the axis (near the north or south celestial pole) will simply appear to circle the axis rather than rise and set. You actually see stars in different orientations in the video. In some cases they do rise and set quickly, while in others they are more polar. The same effect occurs on Earth. For example, if you live in the Northern Hemisphere (say, Europe or northern North America) then the big dipper is visible every night of the year.

  10. Thank you, Brian! And everyone. For posting all this and doing your best to answer most questions. And most of it was relatively respectful. I am never convinced absolutely about anything, ever an open minded sceptic searching life’s mysteries. But I very much enjoyed this and will return after some more searching out there.

  11. You cannot see stars in Space, in the regular spectrum. That’s because we can only see light which refracts or reflects. In Space you can’t see light, just like you cannot see light here on Earth… you see its reflection. Not the light itself. So… no… you cannot see light in Space and you can’t see stars or our Sun which is why there are ZERO pictures of our star (SOL/SUN) in the visible light spectrum. They’re all in other spectra but changed for us to see… because we cannot see those spectra! Get it kids??? These people are lying to you or are just dead incorrect. You cannot see stars in Space.

    1. The best pictures and telescope positions here on earth are at very high altitudes, where the atmosphere is thinner. The stars as imaged (or seen) in dark space are incredible… well beyond anything you could see on Earth. Any bigger light source, however, can easily wash them out from any photographic or optic system, unless you can occlude said source and any diffracted/refracted wash-out light from it.

  12. Biggest load of crap ever. I’m convinced Nobody has a clue we know less than our ancient ancestors. Yet we have a highly paid government agency film company to tell us don’t worry we see it all for you .Why would you question us we’ve been to the moon. Don’t you trust us. Well you should. By the way we’ve sent a rover to Mars. The reason why you will never see stars on NASA footage or ISS feed is the same reason you won’t see the thousands of satellites or billions of particles floating in the debris field…Because it’s fraudulent

    1. Author

      That’s where you’re wrong. You don’t have to trust NASA’s claim of going to the Moon and such. There’s plenty of evidence to confirm its validity. But instead of actually focusing on the evidence you’d rather claim there’s some conspiracy to fake these things. The only fraudulent claims here are the ones you’re making.

  13. Eugene Cernan did an interview, documentary, played today as a tribute by CNN as a tribute. In this he describes the scene as a blackness, not darkness, a blackness, there’s so many stars, it looks like someone took a big fat paintbrush with white paint, just went zap”
    First time I’ve heard someone from the moon describing the stars.
    I recorded the segment myself.

  14. I think science can clear this up. Anecdotal evidence from astronauts not needed.
    From the earth’s surface you can film the night sky with a camcorder and see bright stars in the footage. Movie cameras can do better. Cameras with ‘star’ settings can also capture many stars without time-lapse.
    In space, the bright stars should be plainly visible, as well as the other celestial bodies in our solar system.
    Stars are emitting light. They do not need to pass through matter to be visible. Passing through matter makes them less visible.
    Stars should especially be visible when the ISS is on the dark side, but they are not visible at all, at any time.

    Conclusion: There is currently no scientific explanation as to why stars are not recorded by live footage or photographs taken from space, but can be recorded by live footage or photographs taken from earth.

    1. Author

      Good gravy. There’s an image of stars seen from space in the post. What is it with people holding on to the nonsensical idea that you can’t see stars in space?

    1. Author

      Ah, the classic drive-by comment from someone who hasn’t read the article: “The origin of this misconception is usually traced back to an interview with the crew of Apollo 11, where (it is claimed) Neil Armstrong said he couldn’t see stars in space. What the crew were actually discussing at the time was the inability to see stars on the daylight side of the Moon, which is not surprising given how bright the lunar surface can be relative to the airless black of space.”

      1. You keep repeating that “it is claimed” that Armstrong said he couldn’t see stars in space. It doesn’t have to be “claimed.” It is a fact. There is video of him SAYING DIRECTLY that it is “deep black” in “cislunar space, the space between the earth and the moon.” And it wasn’t “the crew” discussing this point. It was Armstrong, by himself, in a one on one interview with Sir Patrick Moore on BBC in 1970. For someone who presumes to have such respect for science, you play awfully fast and loose with the facts when it suits your argument. A reasonable reaction from an impartial reader is to question your motives.

  15. Dear Mr. Kaberlein, I believe the problem you and others are facing is you are trying to persuade people living in the postmodern age of the Internet. Like no other time in history, people have access to multiple views and opinions on any subject. As a result, they are realizing, consciously or subconsciously, that much of what they were taught (rightly or wrongly) in school as “truth” and “fact” was actually nothing more than opinion and theory carefully selected by their governments to help indoctrinate them, thus developing malleable citizens who would go on to be patriotic, support government decisions on virtually all matters, and finally aid the powers that be in similarly indoctrinating the next generation, and so on. Rightly or wrongly, thanks to organizations such as wiki leaks, people are accessing information that is making them take notice and start thinking for themselves. As a result, they are becoming jaded and suspicious of all government bodies, all institutes of higher learning, and all previously unchallenged institutions such as NASA and the mainstream media. They question why there is so much secrecy and stonewalling over subjects like Antarctica, military black budgets and unaccounted for trillion dollar expenditures, the blatant discarding and ignoring of historical or scientific evidence that does not fit the accepted and promoted narrative of institutions of higher education, etc. People are now less inclined to accept what their governments tell them, what their professors tell them, what the mainstream media tells them, even what their parents tell them. They feel like they have been mislead, fed nothing but lies by all those institutions they were told they could trust, and they are fed up. So even if you are sincere and genuinely trying to be truthful and helpful, fewer and fewer people are buying what you are selling, because they have simply been conned one too many times. “Trust me, I’m a scientist” will no longer cut it; and accept it or not, you kinda have no one to blame but yourselves.

  16. Wow. The level of ignorance in these comments is unfortunately, not surprising. Somehow people would rather believe there is an impossibly huge conspiracy to trick everyone for some completely unfathomable reason instead of believing that some people grasp math, science, physics and cosmology more than they do. Learn math folks, then study how light works. Now go stand in a completely dark room with a pinlight shining in. Now add a 1 million candle power spotlight shining at you in that dark room and see if you can see that pinlight.

  17. Brian, thanks for the info. 🙂 Some of the technical stuff in the replies was hard to understand, but between it all, it cleared it up for me that in some pictures you can see stars & in some, you can’t…depends on several factors, including technology of the camera & position from where you’re taking the picture. Makes sense with the brightness of the sun on the moon & the person who said it’s a matter of expecting to see them.

    1. Chris, I would agree with most of what you say, but the “big bang” and cosmology which is constantly shifting and adding and retracting stuff like inflation, effervescence, dark matter, dark energy, an dark flow, is on much less solid ground than things like light can be transmitted and detected in a vacuum without air. This is readily and easily verified in repeated experiments.

        1. I disagree, especially since the model parameterizations have changed so much, and there has been so much controversy with including things like inflation, etc… There are several competing theories which explain things better, without the need for 96% unknown substance. You can’t base a theory and measure it accurately when only 4% is observable. This leaves a lot of room for error and interpretation, as has been shown in the radical shifts in the model, recently known as “lambda, cold dark matter”. There was no significant mention of dark matter and energy just a few years ago (even though galactic rotation was a known problem). Now, it’s the keystone for everything, even though it has never been directly observed. If you don’t believe me, just watch Carl Sagan’s “Cosmos”, and the new “Cosmos”. Carl Sagan’s cosmos was on solid ground with no mention of dark matter or anything, and now the new Cosmos is on solid ground with 96% darkness. Nobody really believes the earth is flat, and nobody really believes the universe is only 13.7 billion years old, especially when we can see older stars, so many white dwarfs that we never knew about, ancient galaxies at the “beginning of time”, and objects past the supposed opacity barrier.

          1. Author

            So many misconceptions here. Where to start?

            The fact that only about 4% of the universe is made of baryonic matter does not mean only 4% of the universe can be observed. Both dark matter and dark energy are solidly observable.

            The LCDM model is the dominant one precisely because observation has ruled out alternative models such as steady state and hot dark matter models. Of course these were ruled out because they disagreed with the evidence.

            Cosmos is nearly 40 years old, released in 1980. It wasn’t until the 80s that dark matter was strongly supported by galactic observations other than galaxy rotation curves, and it wasn’t until the 90s that CMB fluctuations further confirmed dark matter. It’s not surprising he didn’t mention it.

            There are no stars older than 13.7 billion years, or white dwarfs, or galaxies.

            Inflation I’ll grant you is a bit tentative, but the big bang, dark matter and dark energy are all backed by very solid evidence.

            Nice little disingenuous dig equating the big bang to flat earth, by the way. Let me guess, electric universe fan?

          2. No misconceptions. We definitely don’t have a good handle on electromagnetism in our own Earth or solar system, much less the cosmos, but I am not a proponent or fan of an electric only universe, Despite what you say, all the new dark stuff is, well, new. Such radical, recent shifts indicate something that is not on as solid ground as stuff that can be easily tested with controlled variables. Dark Matter and Dark Energy are inferred from a parameterization of a purely observational theory. Lambda-CDM is new, and has many contenders that don’t require all the fudge, but may have other problems. The corroboration of things like CMBR are on shaky ground, because they are finding more foreground (galaxies) all the time that have not been cancelled. I have always questioned the ability to cancel our own galaxy, having worked on problems like this before. It is really impossible. You can only guess what’s behind our galaxy (ie it is highly ambiguous). The far field is continually turning up more, and more galaxies, which are definitely not cancelled from the CMBR. So, we are basically seeing red-shifte galaxies in the CMBR, and not the afterglow of the big bang as they would like to have you think,

          3. Author

            And now you’re shifting the goalpost. Your original claims:

            You can’t base a theory and measure it accurately when only 4% is observable.

            The standard model puts the amount of baryonic matter (protons, electrons, etc.) at roughly 5% of the universe, the rest being dark matter (27%) and dark energy (68%). Your misconception: we can only observe baryonic matter.

            Baryonic matter emits and absorbs light, and therefore in astronomy we can observe the effects of light interacting with it. We can also observe the gravitational effects of matter.

            Dark matter also interacts with light through its gravity, through things such as gravitational lensing. It also interacts with itself gravitationally, which we can observe through things like galactic clustering.

            Dark energy also interacts with light, creating things like cosmological redshift and changes in surface brightness. It also gravitationally affects things such as galaxy clustering.

            All three of these are measured by interactions with light and patterns of motion driven by gravity. It is not true that we only observe baryonic matter.

            There was no significant mention of dark matter and energy just a few years ago

            Your misconception: dark matter and dark energy are new and untested ideas. “A few years ago” is say 4 – 6 years? So the implication is that neither were mentioned before 2012. Vera Rubin’s famous dark matter paper was published in 1970. Dark energy was seriously discussed as a possibility in the 1970s and 1980s. The first research confirming cosmic acceleration (dark energy) was published in 1998.

            Nobody really believes the earth is flat, and nobody really believes the universe is only 13.7 billion years old

            Your misconception: the age of the universe (i.e. the big bang) is as unfounded and contradicted by evidence as the flat earth model. Seriously?

            Your original claims must be addressed before new ones can be added.

            Let’s start with the last one. The flat earth model is a pseudoscience theory directly disproven by observational evidence. The big bang model is a long-established theory supported by a confluence of evidence (even if you don’t agree with it). They are not remotely similar, and you were being disingenuous to equate them. Yes?

          4. OK — we’ll start with the last one first. I didn’t equate Big Bang theories to flat earth theories, but I did relate them. Many respected philosophers thought the Earth was flat based on measurements they were able to make at the time, until folk like Eratosthenes came along, who was able to span measurement across enough of the Earth to detect (slightly erroneously, but close nonetheless) the curvature of the earth. We, like ancient philosophers were able to measure the Earths surface, are just at the very beginning of being able to see stuff in the cosmos. Unlike Eratosthenes had access to direct data from multiple points on the Earth, we have no significant aperture into the cosmos as we are just able to measure it from a single point. Even systems like Gaia, which have a moderate spatial aperture, are only geared to look in our own vicinity for the moment. So things like distance to remote stars are mostly based on the 4% observable emission of light, and assumptions like standard candle, which is a big assumption. I admit, that in recent times, the estimated, calculated age of the universe based on Big Bang has stabilized somewhat, but the theory is far from stable as there has been significant modifications and even turmoil in the model. For instance, recent Plank data is in significant disagreement with other observations and previously established estimates of the expansion rate of the universe.

            Consider this. Everything we know comes from direct measurements of the 4% of stuff that can interact with light. This is a tiny sampling from a much larger, inferred, background. Everything else, like gravity, etc, is inferred from measurements of the light (and a minor amount from neutrino measurements and the new LIGO gravitational wave capability). On remote objects, the primary two direct measurements we have are 1) intensity, and 2) the spectrum shift (or redshift). These two come from the 4%. Redshift is assumed to be Doppler shift (which is an assumption). If this assumption holds true, then the measured Doppler shift translates directly to the radial component of velocity. Intensity (for a subset of object types) is translated to range based on things like standard candle assumptions. Mean redshift (neglecting things like edge-on galactic profiles) is also then correlated to range.

            In Carl Sagan’s day, he often noted there were “millions and millions” of stars. Now, we are coming to realize that there are actually trillions and trillions of galaxies. What we are able to see out to is like an inverted event horizon of a black hole. Just think about it. We are able to see out to a horizon of more and more galaxies (including old ones that shouldn’t be there). The galaxies get more red-shifted until time stands still, and the horizon is packed with galaxies. I don’t stand alone in my questioning of the big bang. Many respected scientists, including astrophysicists, question it. This is a good thing. Models sometimes get overturned in science, and they sometimes just get refined. We will see what happens in time, but we are just at the beginning and it may take a thousand years and more sophisticated observation capability.

          5. Author

            You’re not being honest here. You did not just relate them, as in “people used to think the earth was flat and they were wrong, so scientists could be wrong about the big bang too!” You said “nobody really believes the Earth is flat…” (naturally, since everyone knows the Earth is round and the flat earth theory is ridiculous) “…and nobody really believes the earth is only 13.7 billion years old” (implying it is likewise a ridiculous idea that no reasonable person would accept.)

            You equated the two. Equally ridiculous, and equally settled. This is a lie. So too is your statement that nobody believes the universe is only 13.7 billion years old. The big bang (more specifically the LCDM model) is the dominant theory of cosmology. It is not a fringe idea, it is not tentative, and there is not any significant number of astrophysicists that disagree with the model.

            Your history of flat Earth models is also wrong. It is not true that “Many respected philosophers thought the Earth was flat…” In Greek philosophy alone you have to go all the way back to pre-Socratic philosophers (before about 500 BCE) to find flat Earth supporters. Thales and Anaxagoras, for example. But Socrates, Pythagoras, Plato, Aristotle, Archimedes (you know, the ones most people have heard of) all supported a round Earth model. And they did so based upon observational evidence such as the round shadow of Earth during a lunar eclipse, the difference of stellar positions at different latitudes, and the fact that the Sun rises at different times on different points of the Earth. Eratosthenes didn’t prove the Earth was round, he simply calculated a reasonable size based on specific measurements. Even through the Middle Ages, most philosophers agreed with a spherical Earth.

            So again, The flat earth and the big bang models are not remotely similar, and you were being disingenuous to equate them. Yes or no. Not a paragraph of distractions. Yes or no.

          6. Author

            Since you continue to respond in paragraphs and gish gallops, onehit, I’m going to be as clear as I can. None of your comments are going to make it through the queue until we address your initial assertions. With each new response you continue to add more assertions and demand more responses, which is not an honest form of discussion.

            To your original comment: “Nobody really believes the earth is flat, and nobody really believes the universe is only 13.7 billion years old”

            You did not intend it as an exaggeration or parody. You even listed evidence you think disproves the big bang immediately following your statement. You equated the big bang model with the flat earth model. More paragraphs on new topics won’t change that fact.

            So you have a choice. You can either say, “yeah, comparing the big bang to the flat earth isn’t accurate or fair, and I retract that statement.” or you can say “I think the comparison is fair. They are both nonsense contradicted by evidence.” You can use your own words, but you don’t need four paragraphs to do it. Either you think it’s a fair and honest claim, or you don’t.

          7. This was expected, of course. Time will tell, but you will accept and not recognize the next time something is added like 94% unknown substance, or any arbitrary inflation, etc… Just read the book by Penrose that I recommended.

  18. And there we have it, another scientific explanation we have to trust. Like maybe a possible cgi picture which tops this artice showing a twentieth of the earths horizon with a perfect picture of a SOLITARY object where according to NASA there should be enough space junk to swamp a landfill…….And you wonder why people believe the eart is flat.

    1. Author

      Clearly you don’t understand the scale of things. There is a lot of debris orbiting Earth, but there’s a lot of space out there. “Close” by orbit standards is on the order of tens of kilometers.

    2. This is what you don’t understand with “scientific explanations”: they’re not meant to be trusted, they’re meant to be TESTED. What conspiracist would never do, or would do wrong by avoiding any evidence that could lead them to what they don’t wanna hear.

  19. Clearly you dont understand how lying to people affects trust. CGI is CGI and an untouched photograph no matter what filter you use is an untouched photograph. Trillions of pounds spent on? I will put back on my tin foil hat and you can believe in your tin foil rockets but I would rather spend my money feeding the hungry. Shame we all dont have the choice what NASA spends our money on. Lies are lies and partonizing me is not going to help your cause Author. I have seen everythiing from animation sequences shot in a vomit comet to watching an astronaut supposedly force a 3 foot pole into the moon by leaning on it when the craft that took him there doesn’t even leave an indentation in soil you can leave footprints in.

    1. Author

      And there it is. The assertion that I’m lying. That NASA is lying. That thousands of scientist across the world are in a world-wide conspiracy to pull the wool over your eyes.

  20. OK Brian lemme open my mind and heart to you. I am not saying the Earth is flat, I am not saying we have never left Earth’s atmosphere, in fact you could not meet a person who thas attempted to be more open minded. Your assumption that I am a befuddled fool incapable of grasping simple concepts is the only truth I can see from our correspondance so far. In my opinion we are now in an age where all technological/social advances are no longer deemed suitable to be passed on to the general public. We are undisputably in an age where a tiny portion of people in the world have control of 90% of the world resources. The fact you are willing to respond to me even if you haven’t addressed my point shows it is worth me continuing this conversation, all I ask is that you open your mind. I have no assertion that you have lied, just that you have been lied to. You work for one of a few agencies that are allowed to spend our tax money and you in your capacity as their employee expect us to trust you. Research this for me and see if you find any truth in it. We dont need GM foods, we dont need fossil fuels, we didn’t need to mess with our atmosphere to correct cloud cover and harmfull toxins until the few people who benefit from raping the planet went a little too far. Time and time again it has been proved we cant control nuclear energy but it is still being exploited but not for the good of the many. The reason the masses suffer in this time of plenty is simple. The guys who you work for lie and cheat to maintain the right to experiment on us for their profit. NASA (and that includes you) wont answer specifics on blatant inconsistances in output, (I am trying to be real nice here) loosing huge amounts of data we paid for, and manipulating said data, sound and images. No amount of wool can disguise the horror that has been inflicted by the technology still being developed but they still maintain the right to secrecy. Should I be con-cern-ed by a group of people who want to create the GOD particle in a Hadron collider which displays a huge statue of Shiva “The Destroyer”. We gonna create a mini Big Bang okay. The World Bank is indisputably a lie creating invisible equity which we can earn to fund more research for you to play with, keep secret, weaponise and use to further the agenda of the people who pay you. If you have never encountered the “need to know basis” you aren’t looking hard enough. As for not understanding the scale of things I would direct you a wonderful song by Bob Marley “Who the cap fit”. Blind doesn’t care how clever you are, neither does Ignorant. The fathers of all science were nearly all alchemists and there is NO DOUBT they were in a secret organisation along with a lot of the people who govern and control us. Again thank you for taking the time to respond.

    1. Thankyou,….. thankyou for being unlocked and for paying attention.

  21. Brian, I am not going to accept the answer because “so and so” said so.

    Gary could be right about atmospheric influences. The cornea of your eye is convex for obvious reasons and so is our atmospheric configuration due to the shape of our planet.

    If the cornea of your eye was flat( or not there at all), you would not be able to see anything of considerable distance.

    Also, there are inconsistencies that are not convincing enough to warrant the notion that an astronaut is actually telling the truth. Remember, they work for a governmental agency that can lie when it needs to.

    I have never seen overwhelming videos showing stars at night from space, ever.

    If you have a few, why only a few?

    Are we led to believe that star views are intermittent from space?

    Something doesn’t add up!

    1. Author

      Every image from Hubble is a view of stars from space. The raw images are available through the NASA repositories. The FITS files are literally the data collected from the CCDs, just like a digital camera but more advanced. If you want to argue that digital images are somehow “fake,” then there are film images of stars from the early NASA space program. Scanned copies of these photographs are freely available online. If that’s not convincing enough, I’m sure you could visit some of these photographs for yourself. All of this is available.

      But no, it’s more reasonable to assume that NASA employees are all involved in a conspiracy to lie about seeing stars in space, and create massive repositories of faked data that they don’t widely publicize, and then use this fake data to process beautiful color images that they do publicize, all to gain access to some amount of government money? These people have STEM skills that are in high demand, and they could easily work in the private sector for more money.

      Good grief. We can see stars from space. The earth is round. NASA is not a conspiracy.

  22. Graham,

    I agree with you 100%, and that’s why I think Gary is correct!

  23. When an astronaut stands on the bright side of the moon in lunar day the sun is in his “sky” so is the earth. Those big bright shiny things block out the relatively weak starlight. It’s the same on Iss.
    If you are on the opposite side of the moon when the sun isn’t in the sky above then just like on earth you see the stars.
    With Iss you just need to be on the night side of earth and there they are.
    The atmosphere doesn’t create the starlight cos that’s just light. From Iss they can see the sun the moon and the earth and stars..and they like hubble are outside the atmosphere

  24. All we seem to have is anecdotal contrasting evidence from people who dont have a great history in telling the whole truth, who are paid by people who dont have the best intentions and like to think they have the right to secrecy “for the greater good”. I just watched a kid proove flat earth for a science project…..but you cant see why there might be a trust issue? I remember in school wondering how Christopher Columbus discovered America when there were already people there!!!!! My teacher was very patronizing when history was questioned, just as you are being now but how long will it be before all this secrecy blows up in our faces.

  25. Brian Koberlein: I am so sorry that you have to see all these comments from uninformed buffoons who cannot manage to separate the wheat from the internet “chaff”. It’s gotta’ make a learned man like yourself just sad. And…the bizarre garbage some of them come up with to back their beliefs? WOW!!
    I took Physics in High School so I know that hitting the moon is not all THAT hard using 400 year old math…all you need is good enough measurements and enough power, Apollo? yup! I had an art class where perspective was explained…converging/diverging moon shadow theories, debunked! I’ve shot a few rolls of film through a manual camera by day and by night and seen the brightness of the full moon…starless skies on moon making Apollo a hoax?…pure BS! Can’t see stars in space because you need air to see stars…somebody needs to go back to biology class and refresh themselves on how the human eye works…and maybe read up on how light is transmitted.
    How you remain sane, I’ve no idea! From the comments, it looks like you reached and helped one mind grasp a couple concepts. I try to do the same, but usually end up realizing that there are none so blind as those who refuse to see.
    Regards, and keep up the good fight!

  26. Reading some of the more outlandish claims expressed on this forum, it seems to me that we so-called ‘moderns’ are still at a very early phase of development with regards to what might be termed ‘internet maturity’. It took two or three hundred tempestuous years (e.g. the European Wars of Religion) for most folks to finally adapt to the information revolution, following the invention of the printing press by Gutenberg back in the 15th century. . . a worrying precedent, some might say.

    Regarding the problems some people have expressed about optics, especially the need for light requiring an intermediate medium (the Earth’s atmosphere) for it to be rendered visible, all I say is this: were it true, then the interiors of all vacuum chambers would be rendered permanently dark.

    For those wingeing on about shedloads of dollars being thrown into space research (money, for instance, that could be spent feeding the poor) I understand that the funds NASA receives from the US taxpayer is a tiny fraction to that thrown at the military. In terms of the annual gross US budget (almost three trillion dollars at the last count) the NASA cut is less than one measily percent. it’s not even possible to show in most pie charts. Apparently, Americans as a whole spend more on pizzas than they do on space research. What about giving some of these pizzas to the hungry?

  27. You can, through your eyes from the window inside a space vehicle, only see light when reflected on light refractive matter. Therefore yes when you in space you can see the moon the earth some near planets but not our sun and definitely not the other stars. End of story. Therefore the space vehicle windows have a special refractive coating in order to make the stars visible. Stars including our sun in space don’t emit light at the human eye visible spectrum.

    Show me one raw unedited picture taken from Nasa from space of our sun in the visible spectrum. Sun light in space is mainly transmitted in the infrared spectrum and UV and X-ray spectrum not the visible.

    1. Author

      What you are claiming goes against basic atomic physics.

      I’m curious about the “special refractive coating” you think NASA uses. Could you state in detail what it’s made of, its thickness, and how, according to Maxwell’s equations it renders stars visible?

  28. 1) The sunlight or any light by itself is invisible unless it interferes with matter. But, sun’s own material is already lit up by the energy it releases and that is what you see when you look at the sun in space or on earth. It has nothing to do with the reflective coating on spacecraft windows or the existence of atmosphere.

    2) Examples here: . If it was the windows coating, camera would have to focus very closely on the window where the source of light would be. But then you would not get a depth of field as you get in those pictures The camera would have to use a low aperture and long shutter speeds and this would blur the picture given all the movement of the ISS and the earth at that speed. In the pictures, the outward rays from the sun are produced by the aperture blades in the lens and not by some kind of reflection on windows.

    3) Sun is a star, therefore if you can see the sun in space then you can see the stars in space.

  29. Phew! Trawling through this comments section was, at some points, like swimming through a thick, stupidity flavoured soup. Anyway, back to the important stuff: thanks for the article Brian. As someone who is never, ever likely to venture into space (not well enough), I’ve often found myself wondering what it must be like to actually walk outside the barriers of our beloved home. The sheer miasma of emotions at seeing the unfettered eternity of our universe stretched out before you must be awesome and terrifying at the same time. I’ve lost count of how many hours I spent as a kid hunkered down in my parent’s old wooden shed pointing my telescope at as many points of light as I could. Space, the planets, the universe has always excited me. There are so, so many things I could post in conversation but I’ve already nearly worn my index finger down to the bone! Loved it when Chris Hadfield sang Space Oddity on the ISS. Anyway, thanks again for the article Brian. I don’t really care for the whys and wherefores. I just know that, even on the coldest night’s, I get a warm and fuzzy feeling when I look up into that night sky. And it has nothing to do with alcohol.

  30. It amazes me that scientists don’t understand why no one is believing them anymore. When you look at all the insane things medical and climate science have bullshitted about in the last 30 years it is no wonder. Science long ago abandoned the idea of not being an advocate and is now a swamp beast manufacturing system.

    If 97% of scientists believe CO2 is a pollutant that controls the climate of earth, then 97% of all scientists are retarded communists that need to be strung up for trying to rip off the world for their insane religion. Climate hysteria is only one case of where science has dropped the ball and become an egregious mockery of what it was once supposed to be. I really don’t give a shit about the moon or seeing starts in space, but I haven’t been there and I am not taking any opinion because I don’t trust bullshit artists who can’t see they are trapped in a communist religion that makes most people want to puke. Science needs to ask “what roll did we play in that” when people don’t believe your newly minted “facts” and “proven science”.

  31. It’s called hyperbole, or a figure of speech, Oh yeah, “therapy” the other great science, lol.

    1. Author

      No, it’s called a veiled threat. It’s used by hateful people who are either incapable or unwilling to have an honest discussion. The kind of people with anger issues. Seriously, talk to a therapist, or your pastor, or something because you could use the help.

  32. The stupidity is staggering. I compiled a long list of statements, by Apollo astronauts, specifically referring to seeing stars and planets while in space precisely to counter the lie (and it is a lie) that they did not see them and aren’t allowed to talk about it. It accompanies other pages on my site that show stars and planets in Apollo photographs –

    People who bitch about stars in photographs have quite obviously never tried to take a photograph of stars and have no idea about the limiting factors affecting the process. Overcome those factors, as many people in space have, and you get spectacular imagery that knee-jerk contrarians will still insist are fake. Why do they insist they’re fake? Because they’re dumb.

  33. Yes we can see stars when in space. But why did Neil Armstrong say ‘The sky is a deep black when viewed from the moon as it is when viewed from cis-lunar space, the space between the Earth and the moon.’? Why is he lying?

    1. Mr. Brian Koberlein, I am a little disappointed you did not answer my question. Almost every other ludicrous question you did answer. I really would like to know what you think about this blatant lie of Neil Amstrong. Why would he say such thing? Thank you for answering this.

      1. Author

        Why do you assume Neil Armstrong was lying? The Armstrong quote so often cited is that he says he didn’t see stars from the lunar surface, which makes sense given the bright lunar surface. This is not the same as claiming it is impossible to see stars in space. Armstrong talked about his personal experience. He didn’t make general claims. That isn’t being dishonest at all.

        1. I quote Neil Amstrong again: ‘The sky is a deep black when viewed from the moon as it is when viewed from cis-lunar space, the space between the Earth and the moon.’ He clearly says ‘cis-lunar space’ and even explains cis-lunar space as ‘the space between the Earth and the moon’. This is a blatant lie. It makes no sense that you M. Brian Koberlein claim that this is not a lie. Honestly, it baffles me.

          1. Author

            What baffles me is why you can’t understand context. In the BBC interview you quote, Armstrong is asked about his personal experience as one of only a handful of people who had been into space at the time. He’s talking about his personal experience. This is clear when he talks about how some of his colleagues claimed to see planets from the lunar surface, but he had not.

        2. Let’s try a different approach. I am saying: ‘The sky is a deep black when viewed from cis-lunar space, the space between the Earth and the moon.’ Am I telling the truth or is this a lie?

          1. No, it depends not. Let’s try again. I am saying: ‘The sky is a deep black when viewed from cis-lunar space, the space between the Earth and the moon.’ Am I telling the truth or is this a lie?

          2. Author

            I don’t believe Armstrong was lying. You asked, I answered, you wouldn’t move on. So, new question. If I say “You are banned for trolling” Is that the truth or a lie?

          3. So if someone claims the Earth is flat would you describe it as his personal experience or simply state he is lying? Or would you say the context is more important?

          4. Author

            Context is important. If someone claims the Earth is flat based upon their personal understanding (or misconceptions), then they are simply wrong. If they know the Earth is round, but claim the Earth is flat with the intent to deceive (such as selling a book) then that would be a lie. Making a statement that’s factually wrong isn’t necessarily a lie.

  34. Saying “Wow, we’re not lying, and if you don’t believe me then you are just dumb… Ahhh ay. oh look, you’re technically threatening me there what you said.” , does’t answer any of the questions or statements that you’re expected to answer. Come back with some actual scientific explanation of the proof, Mr. Scientist. If you can’t properly “defend your debate”, that is lack of intelligence on your part, not the opposing. These people are only challenging you on a theory (which is the point until you prove some conclusion here) and all you can say is “No, you’re wrong, you are dumb.” Well heelllloooo, TELL THEM WHY without pussyfooting. If you don’t or can’t, that is only going feed unto their suspicions, and you are the one to come out looking like the “dumb” one or a liar, not them. ‘Til then, Sir, you’re a bit irrelevant here as a “scientist”, and you and your blog have no more credit than a piece of paper and a meth head.

  35. The question is not basic at all.
    Depends on your location, if still within the earths atmosphere you will see stars, sun and moon. However if in deep space not only will you not see stars but it would be very difficult to see the sun (maybe at best you see a dull red disk). In order for you to see an object the light must be at a frequency your eyes can process. If you are in deep space, void of any atmosphere there is nothing to reflect back the light wave/ray.

    The first question is “Does the sun emit visible light waves/rays? If that answer is yes then outer space around us would be illuminated no different then turning on a light in a dark room. But we know that space is not illuminated so this suggests the sun does not emit much visible light.

    When you talk about light you are talking about gamma rays, x-rays, and microwaves and not just visible light waves/rays, ultimately they are all electromagnetic waves. All these waves are reflected and refracted to a degree because of mass. This is why from the space station you see earth, but from the same pictures you can see that space is not illuminated so there is very little visible light.

    1. Author

      The Sun emits lots visible light. So do most stars. Rambling about an “illuminated room” shows you really don’t understand how light works.

  36. Well first of all I wouldn’t speak for any astronaut who as you say claims they can’t see stars from space. I don’t see that as a claim I see that more as an observation but nevertheless you also don’t explain that yes light is visible in space but the real question should be is light visible to the human eye in space? You also claim that NASA has many pictures which in your words proves this is evidence that stars can be seen in space with the human eye although you don’t specify that telescopes in space use gamma, x ray, ultraviolet light, ect to produce images. If you put a flashlight in a vacuum and try to find the source of light you would be disappointed you would only find the reflection from the source this experiment has already been done. Light has two bounce off of a surface for it to be visible to human eyes this isn’t counting by the way gamma x-ray ultraviolet or thermal because of course it’s not visible to humans. Light needs particles to bounce off of it for you to see the source that’s why on Earth you’re able to see the Sun or stars or a flashlight pointed towards you.

    1. Author

      Just curious. Where does this “light must be reflected to be seen” argument come from? It certainly doesn’t come from physics, since emitted light and reflected light are both light. Objects can emit visible light that we can see directly.

  37. i have read a years worth of swerving and ducking and diving by “brian” and his only offering , the fakest crap “image” of stars from iss (what shape is that weird land mass below iss?)
    it’s pretty simple , obviously no one can see light with just eyes , look at your hand , you see a hand reflecting photons not “light” in the space plus hand!
    it’s very clear you are unable to offer any proof at all of your claims .
    why would any “star” be visible in the lower pressure area of space , why would we see stars when WE CAN NOT SEE LIGHT here on earth.
    if light is visible in space and with all those “stars” you claim out there ,it would be a total white out.
    Brian Koberlein … charlatan and a disgrace to humanity

      1. I think Paul is noting, from terrestrial experience, that you can’t see things like a laser beam or directive flashlight beam unless those beams scatter off of something. Alternatively, you could be directly in the beam (which I don’t recommend), in which case you would see the light or have your retinas burned. Most stars,radiate more-or-less omnidirectionally. This means that the wavefronts are travelling outward from the stars in every direction. So, unlike a laser beam pointed away from your eye, the light from stars (or light bulbs or a candle) would fall on your eyes, and you could see it.

  38. Good article Brian but I can’t help but think you’re being trolled. These comments are ludicrous.

    If these people are real and their comments sincere, This thread could be seen as the failing of our education system to teach basic deductive reasoning.

    For everyone serious out there – read up on relativity and time dilation if you really want to dig deeper and understand what is actually hitting your eyes every night. The photos hitting your eyes may have left a star a million years ago, but from the photon’s reference frame it traveled all that time and distance nearly instantly. The true nature of the universe and how light can be all around us – traveling infinitely in every direction – and be everywhere in the universe all at once is mind blowing.

  39. Neil Armstrong said they could not see starts from the surface of the moon. He also said that they could not see stars in the space between the earth and the moon in the same interview. I have also seen another interview where this one guy explains that the earths atmosphere breaks up light in the spectrum so it’s visible, and that light would not be visible in space…now I’m ????‍♂️ Confused 🙂

    1. Author

      Apollo 15 astronaut Al Worden was the command module pilot, and said when he was in the shadow of the Moon, “The sky is just awash with stars when you’re on the far side of the Moon, and you don’t have any sunlight to cut down on the lower intensity, dimmer stars.” Countless other astronauts have confirmed that you can see stars in space, as I pointed out in the article.

      This shouldn’t be confusing. You can see stars in space.

    1. Author

      The cameras are set at brightness levels to capture the car. So you wouldn’t see stars in the background. Depending on the camera you might see some stars if you really upped the contrast of the images. But again, these cameras were all about the car.

  40. You are incorrect, Brian. Neil Armstrong said that not only were there no stars visible from the surface of the moon, there were no stars visible from cislunar space – the space between earth and the moon. Just blackness.

    1. Author

      And verily Armstrong did declare there were no stars seen in space, and it was so. And Lo! All evidence of stars visible in space shall be cast into the fire, for it is false and shall lead you astray.

      1. Neil Armstrong says there are no visible stars in cislunar space, the space between the earth and the moon, in an interview with the BBC that was broadcast in 1970, after the Apollo 12 mission:

          1. Clearly, you can see stars from space. That’s indisputable. When Neil Armstrong said on BBC that the sky was deep black in cislunar space, he was saying something that is untrue. Can we at least agree on this point?

  41. these days every one uses their phone to take photos of things, even tho the result is usually a terrible out of focus shot or selfie.

    do inhabitants of the iss ever take selfies or photos the stars say just with their phone or ipad and post on facebook or instagram?

  42. Collins clearly stated he could not remember having seen a single star, please watch the 1969 press conference again. Since he was never on the moon himself but only orbiting it he could only have been talking about the mission in it’s entirety. He was on the ‘dark side’ of the moon at least 25 time so he should have been able to have seen them. So he was a. purposely lying about it or b. he never went to the moon. You can not blame this on the ‘moon hoaxers’, it was the Apollo 11 crew that caused this confusion. I believed them back then but with what I know now, as confirmed by this article, I have serious doubts.

  43. Addendum: just to be clear Brian, what you state in this article makes perfect sense. I was a young boy when the moon landing happened and I always believed the astronauts. But with what we know now it was the Apollo 11 crew that did not make any sense. Like Jose commented before: Armstrong clearly stated there were no stars visible from the moon nor in cislunar space. He repeated this claim in a BBC interview whilst visiting Great-Britain shortly after. Both Armstrong and Collins have clearly stated that there are no stars visible in space on several occasions. Instead of ridiculing people who only point out these facts I think you should treat them fairly and try to come up with an explanation for their inexplicable star blindness. Belittling people is like throwing oil on the flames and it only feeds the conspiracies. Great article Brian, but please answer the questions in the comments in an fair way and as good as you can.

  44. My question then would be, if the Moon has no atmosphere, how could the Astronauts who lets say are in space approaching it – see it ? I dont think this article above addresses “scientifically” how light works in this case. I am neither a flat earther yet or secular science believer but this has raised questions for me. My understanding is you can only see light when it is filtered through an atmosphere like our Earth. Is it possible something in the visors of the astronauts helped them see light ?

    1. Author

      Your understanding of light is wrong. Light does not need to be filtered through an atmosphere to be seen. We see things when light strikes the retina in our eyes. If that light is within the range of visible light (about 700 – 400 nanometers) then our eyes can detect it. Light produced by the Sun and stars contains visible light, so we can see them. Light reflected off the Moon and planets contains visible light, so we can see them. That’s true if we are on Earth, or in space. Earth’s atmosphere can change the light we see (refraction, scattering, etc) but we can see any light in the visible spectrum.

  45. It seems to me if I was an astronaut that would be one of the first thing I would look for, is stars , although in the interview all three of them said they don’t remember seeing Stars which was just kind of odd to me . Not only that but not one of them seems to be very happy about being on the moon . After just coming back they all seem to be nervous and scared .You would think they would be in elated after just and coming from back from being the first men toever land on the moon . I want to believe it , but their interview makes it extremely hard. One last thing , how come we just stopped going to the moon and why didn’t we set up cameras on the moon so people could see the earth , instead of through an eight inch piece of glass window. That’s just kind of odd don’t you think , or have a rover explore the dark side of the moon. But instead , we just stopped all together. Strange !!

  46. Kristen Fox, let the brave Chinese astronauts discover whatever that is hidden on the other side of the moon that shat the pants of the American militarists, politicians and scientists.

  47. I’m trying to wrap my brain around this. Lots of photos from NASA are CGI or enhanced. We see tons of stars with our naked eye from Earth. And we can see our Sun and Moon from space. But the rest is pitch black. I’ve noticed this so many times. You say that we can’t see light in space because there is no atmosphere to reflect the light, yet we are able to see our Sun. And our Sun is only 2nd generation, it’s not even the biggest or brightest star in our galaxy. Yet space is pitch black & I don’t buy that the equipment isn’t capable. The ISS experience a sunrise every 90 minutes or something, several a day. So I’m just trying to understand why one star can be seen from space but not the others and I’m talking normal footage, not enhanced or CGI.

    1. Delia — I agree that the ISS should have a live feed that is facing away from Earth, with some steering dwell and exposure control. This would be truly astounding.

  48. The human eye has a lens in it. That focuses light onto the retina and performs the transform necessary to image remote optical fields. This index of refraction of air is very close to that of space. You do get some very minor lensing, but not much, and definitely doesn’t “concentrate starlight onto the human eye.” This notion is ridiculous, if you know anything about optics and have ever remotely played with lenses..

  49. I am NOT a flat earther, but I did find a direct contradiction between what the Apollo 11 astronauts said about not seeing stars while on the moon and what Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson states in the following interview at time marker 32:35: titled “Amazing Interview With Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson” The astronauts state that they didn’t see stars from the moon and Dr. Tyson explains why that can’t be true. If you could please shed some star light on this, I would appreciate it. Thanks.

    1. Author

      There is a difference between “I didn’t see any stars while on the Moon (or in space)” and “You can’t see any stars on the Moon (or in space)” The first is perfectly valid for an individual experience. The second is proven false. The latter also goes against everything we know about stars, the nature of light, and the nature of human perception.

  50. Right with you Brian Koberlein. On orbit, on the night side of the orbit, the number of stars visible will exceed the best Earth-based viewing by at least a factor of 10. Astronaut Jim Reilly has also attested to that fact. Regarding the lunar surface imagery, all of the Apollo missions were flown so the astronauts would be conducting the EVAs during the 354 hour, 22 minute period of daylight of each lunar “day”. In fact, the sun had to be at a minimum angle when viewed from the surface for these missions. There was so much reflected light on the surface that the camera apertures had to be stopped way down. This prevented the faint light of the stars from showing up on any of the pictures. Now, for a truly amazing experience, travel to the FAR side of the moon and wait for lunar night. No sunshine, no earthshine, just stars. And for those who haven’t figured it out yet, the far side of the moon and the dark side of the moon are not ALWAYS the same.

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