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Special Video (#01): Richard C. Hoagland and the Ziggurat on the Moon

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Recap: Richard C. Hoagland is at it again; this time, I take you on a short journey exploring Hoagland's claim that there is a ziggurat on the Moon. In this video exposé, I graphically show why this is a hoax, how this is a hoax, and conclude that Hoagland is an incompetent investigator (or lying that he did any investigation).

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Those words were spoken by Richard C. Hoagland on the Coast to Coast AM radio show that was live on July 20, 2012. Richard was speaking about a lunar image taken by the Apollo 11 crew in 1969 of the lunar far side, specifically the region around 9° South, 174° East.

We can go to the original photograph as shown here, a high resolution scan being offered by the Lunar and Planetary Institute.

Richard doesn't tell you where on the photograph the alleged ziggurat is, but careful searching by a few dedicated people, including myself, revealed the location as you see here. The rotation is just over 79°.

As we go into this region, you can see that there doesn't appear to be anything. That is, until you look at Richard's version, which I've now superposed on the background.

Pulling these apart and comparing, there are several differences between the original image and what Richard was presenting on the Coast to Coast site.

First, though it may be hard to tell on this due to video compression, Richard's version has more noise throughout the image. This means he's either using a later generation scan, or noise was added deliberately to try to cover things up.

Second, the image he shows is darker overall, as evidenced by the shadows in the lower left, while the contrast has been increased as can be seen by the highlights near the upper middle.

Finally, there is the obvious: The ziggurat is not present in the original. It's just craters. No amount of image adjustment nor enhancement will get you a ziggurat there, it must have been added in.

Further evidence it was added in are the shadows themselves. On the moon, there is no atmosphere, and since this was on the far side, there was no earthshine. Shadows would need to be pitch black unless there was a hill nearby that could scatter light into the shadowed region, which there aren't because this is on a hill. But, the shadows of the ziggurat are clearly not pure black but are illuminated. This is further evidence of image tampering.

A final test of any feature to determine if it's really there is to go to other images of the same location. To do this, one first has to stretch the Apollo photo because it was a perspective shot; I did this using a spline interpolation and 88 control points to the most recent lunar surface mosaics. Once I found the location's coordinates, I found that the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter has photographed the site with its wide-angle camera, which you see now that I'm zooming in on, at a pixel scale of 77 meters per pixel. The ziggurat isn't there. But we can go further because the narrow-angle camera has also imaged the site, in this case at about 0.8 meters per pixel - 100x better - and still, the ziggurat isn't there, it's just craters.

Hoagland claims he spent days trying to determine if this was real or not, and that this is a subtle feature. I argue based on this evidence that Richard is either incompetent to have spent that long on this when an hour's work on my end showed it to be a hoax - and most of that time spent searching for the feature location in the Apollo photo. Or, Hoagland is a liar. You make up your own mind.

Oh, and just so you know, this particular hoax has been on the internet at least since 2011, possibly as far back as 2003. Richard's former co-author, Mike Bara, is also claiming that it was he who sent Richard the image. And yet, Richard presented it as his own work, or at the very least made no acknowledgment that it had ever been presented before.

Thank you for watching. This has been a special video presentation by the "Exposing PseudoAstronomy" blog and podcast.

Provide Your Comments:

Comments to date: 6. Page 1 of 1. Average Rating:

Rick K   St. Louis

4:10pm on Tuesday, September 25th, 2012 

I just listened to the C2C where Mike Bara talked about various topics, mostly to promote his newest book. Thought my head was going to explode from all the things he got wrong.
Then I got to the part where Dr. Robbins gets on, and when asked what it would take to falsify his belief in the ziggurat, he insists on talking to someone who originally processed the photographs from the Apollo missions (most of whom are long since retired or dead). He refuses to accept any newer images, because according to him, they've all been modified. He doesn't say why, but I assume it's all some gigantic plot to frustrate people like Mike. Then he asks Dr. Robbins what it would take to falsify his position. Mike stated that he had already "destroyed" that position, even though it was a mountain of inaccuracies, irrelevancies, and insults. I'm beginning to think that Mike Bara is a true believer, because he refuses to even listen, and even borders on advocating censorship, which Noory explains is... read more »

Jim C.   Central Florida

8:24am on Tuesday, September 18th, 2012 

My boss and I have discussed how Richard C. Hoagland is an example of the blatant disregard for honesty and diligence in the fringe media. Hoagland is an individual that is clearly taking advantage of an audience that is truly interested in learning about our physical universe and in process is hoodwinked in to the fantastic and the absurd. We do pattern analysis at work and clearly many of Hoagland's structures and anomalies are "fabricated" - either intentionally or unintentionally...

In listening to Hoagland and his architected stories - because you can tell he is a big fan of architecture... in the way that all his stories revolve around a building, structure or monument, you can predict the nature of his next *big discovery* or the information his *top government* contact will give him. Hoagland has taken us to temple after temple of doom in space and continues to build on the implausible to develop and draw the attention of new audiences for whatever it is that he might be ... read more »

Stuart   Boulder, CO, USA

2:59am on Saturday, August 4th, 2012

Maria, I'm curious to know if you even bothered to watch the video. If so, do you actually have anything to point out in it that's wrong, or did you just have a visceral reaction because Hoagland can do no wrong as far as you're concerned?

Maria   Belgium

2:31am on Saturday, August 4th, 2012 

Nonsense. Another Hoagi hater article.

ThorGoLucky   Corvallis, Oregon

3:06pm on Thursday, July 26th, 2012 

Excellent and to the point, thanks.

Binaryspellbook   Scotland

3:50am on Wednesday, July 25th, 2012 

Excellent piece of sleuthing Stuart. Really first class Hoagland burn.

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