Ian Ridpath wrote:
Did everyone miss David Arditti's posting further up the page about JW's image of of the recent Venus–Saturn conjunction? David concludes: "It's another cut-and-paste job". Two "mistakes" by the same imager are indeed unfortunate.
I did. To me, it's not clear whether the hard lines were caused by some attempt to remove background noise and make it flat black or if it is indeed another paste job. It wouldn't be the first time I've seen hard lines hiding in the darks. Lots of people make that mistake. Good practice to brighten the image up at the end and check. I've got a brighter monitor than most people so I see a lot of stuff others miss.
Since this does seem to have gone unnoticed, I'll have to go into more detail. Julian's 'mage' of the Saturn-Venus conjunction is an absolutely clear fake, on many lines of evidence.
1. He posted it on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/p/BATrBDDvRF_/
and Twitter https://twitter.com/jwastronomy/status/685701965842657280
on the evening of January 8. This was about 10 hours before the closest conjunction that was visible from Europe, that I imaged, here, on the morning of the 9th: http://staglaneobservatory.co.uk/conjunction-of-venus-and-saturn-2016-january-09/
2. If you compare my image with his, you will see he has the distance from Saturn to Venus wrong and the angle between the ansae of Saturn's rings and the Venus-Saturn line wrong. His image could
geometrically be a true representation of an earlier moment of the conjunction, as Venus was travelling away form Saturn, moving to the left (east) when I took my shot. But that moment would not have been visible from Europe, and there's no evidence that he went out of Europe to take his 'image'.
3. My image was taken in a very narrow, critical time-period of less than half an hour when the pair were high enough above the horizon to get any sort of recognisable image of Saturn, but the sky had not brightened enough to make Saturn disappear. The sky is very bright in my image (in fact I darkened it compared to the raw shot). The sky in Julian's 'image' is dead black, as illustrated by the extreme stretching I did on his JPEG in Photoshop http://staglaneobservatory.co.uk/wessel-venus-saturn/
4. There is absolutely no way that the faint moons of Saturn were imageable in the bright sky in which the conjunction was visible, but there they are in Julian's 'image'.
5. The stretched JW image makes it look likely that all the elements of his 'image', Saturn, the moons, Venus and the star above Saturn, have been pasted onto a canvas separately.
Julian's 'image' does not geometrically represent a view he could have observed, but his Tweet and Instagram post says:
"Right now! Venus is only 5.1 Arch minutes seperated from Saturn. Nice to See how fast the movement between These two planets is."
This implies he was watching the event, but the Tweet was posted at 9:57PM, when the planets were below the horizon from Europe!
It looks to me like he got the orientation of the scene at the moment of closest conjunction (visible somewhere in the world) from a planetarium program and made a composition around that. The image of Venus he used looks like he might have taken it around that date, but the image of Saturn and its moons is totally impossible to have been taken this year from Europe (like his Saturn image with the ISS transit) as Saturn is currently too low in the twilight. It looks like he pasted in a Saturn image he took last year, or got from somewhere else, and rearranged the moons to fit this date.
It looks like we are dealing with someone who habitually notes when close approaches of objects occur in the sky, then cooks up synthesised images of those events from available information and bits of his own imaging, and places them around the web with minimal information (such as date, time, location etc) that would allow them to be verified or disproved, and with vague captions that imply he has witnessed and successfully imaged the event, but don't (as in his Twitter and Instagram postings I have referenced) explicitly say
he has imaged it, and don't explain what methods he used.
I call this fraud. I expect his Jupiter-ISS image is entirely fake as well.