Exposing PseudoAstronomy

August 16, 2015

#NewHorizons #PlutoFlyby – The Pseudoscience Flows #10 — Crrow777 Thinks It’s ALL Fake


I really don’t want to give this one much time. “Crrow777” as he is known on YouTube, or just “Crrow” in interviews, is (from what I can tell) rising somewhat in the conspiracy world for reasons that I don’t understand. Among other things, he thinks the moon (Earth’s moon) is a hologram.

I have listened to some of his material, and I have heard several of the interviews he has given. I think he believes what he is saying. I don’t know beyond that what his mental state may be.

For this and other reasons, not the least of which is that the claims he makes are insane, I don’t want to feed the birds beyond what I need to to quickly debunk his foray into Pluto and New Horizons.

I have seen two additional Pluto videos on YouTube of his that go beyond the first one he posted. I’m only going to focus on that first one: “Crow Images vs NASA Images – Pluto is Only at Disneyland.” His videos typically get on the order of 10,000 views. This one has nearly 100,000 because it was picked up by various news outlets who did want to give him more attention.

The Claim

It really boils down to this: Because he can get from Earth (what he thinks) are better images of Jupiter and Jupiter’s moons than what NASA was showing of Pluto from New Horizons several days before encounter, New Horizons is fake.

The Explanation: Very Basic, Middle School Math

He’s wrong.

First off, in his first video, he is fully focused on saying that Jupiter in his camera and telescope is better than Pluto from the LORRI instrument on New Horizons. In his second video, he commits the logical fallacy of Moving the Goalpost and claims that what he really was talking about was Jupiter’s moons, not Jupiter.

Let’s do some really basic math. Jupiter was near the opposite side of the sun as Earth in mid-July, meaning it was around 900,000,000 km from us. Pluto was very roughly 5,000,000,000 km from us, or around 5.5x farther.

Jupiter’s radius is about 71,000 km (on average). Pluto’s radius is around 1190 km. So Jupiter is around 60x bigger in size.

Take 60x bigger and 5.5x farther from Earth, Pluto is going to look around 330x smaller than Jupiter.

Okay, but what about from New Horizons? The first images that he complains about and said were an “insult to your intelligence” were from late May, when New Horizons was about 50,000,000 km away from Pluto, or about 18x closer than we were to Jupiter. Except, he wasn’t showing you LORRI images. He was showing you MVIC images, which have a much worse pixel scale.

It’s the second animation he shows, about 3:45 into the video, which is from LORRI from April, when New Horizons was about 110,000,000 km, or 9x closer than we are to Jupiter.

So, simple math: Jupiter is 60x bigger, New Horizons was 9x closer, so Jupiter would STILL, if the optics were all the same, be about 6.5x bigger than what he’s doing in his back yard.

Except, the optics are not the same. I don’t know the field of view of his specific telescope. The build of the telescope changes the field of view, as does the camera size. LORRI has a field of view of 0.3° (about 60% the size of Earth’s full moon). It also has a 1024×1024 pixel detector, or 1 megapixels.

Crrow777 looks like he was using a dSLR camera, which typically has around 20 megapixels. That means that his resolving power – the ability to see a certain number of pixels across a feature – is going to be around 4-5x that of LORRI (take the square-root of the number of pixels, which is area, to get length).

So, not only is Jupiter going to still be 6.5x bigger if the telescopes are the same, but due to the number of pixels in his camera, it will be about 30x more pixels across than how New Horizons is seeing Pluto.

Other Stuff

He also complains that he has city lights and an atmosphere to deal with. But, he’s using techniques which help get around that, which those LORRI images he was showing were not using.

He also (around 4:30 in the video) just starts to rant about the images being an insult to peoples’ intelligence. I think his basic misunderstandings are an insult to peoples’ intelligence.

He also complains (5 min) that these are “high resolution” from NASA but as he defines “high resolution,” meaning you can “get down and resolve detail on these things,” then under his definition – which is different from the term as NASA was using it – they aren’t.

Except they are. We could resolve features on months out that we had never been able to resolve before. And days out, which are the ones he complains about at that time stamp, we were resolving surface features. It’s not “junk” (his term). All because he doesn’t understand something doesn’t mean the incredibly hard work and dedication by hundreds of people was all fake.

Final Thoughts

Okay, I’ve gotten myself angry at this point. I’ve said my bit, but I’ll say it again:

Just because you don’t know basic math, basic optics, and basic technology doesn’t mean that everything is a conspiracy. Instead of everyone lying, maybe it’s YOU who needs to actually do a little extra work and learn something instead of acting crazy.

Post Script

I took a look at his second video. Nothing really new in it except probably 80% of it is ranting and raving about The Masons and that nobody should trust The Government. One of the very few new things in it was ranting that there were better than 1 Mpx cameras available at the time New Horizons was built. This ignores two things: You have to go to the initial proposal – not when the craft was built and certainly not launched – and you have to look at what is tried and true technology that is capable of surviving the much harsher environment of space (temperature extremes and radiation). You can’t just go to the local camera store, buy a camera off the shelf, and fly it to Pluto. Ranting about should’ve-been-able-to-do-that shows you know absolutely nothing about how space missions work and how the technology on those missions is selected, built, and tested.

I also took a look at his third, rather short video, claiming that the colorized full-frame Pluto images was faked because if you invert the colors and increase the levels, you see a blockiness around the edge of the disk. Again: All because YOU don’t know anything about what’s going on doesn’t mean it’s a fraud.

This was a lossy JPG B&W image, with MUCH lower resolution color data overlaid on it, and then saved and exported again with lossy JPG compression. If he had BOTHERED TO READ THE CAPTION, he would know this.



  1. 3 27 2016 Hello and good evening Stuart Robbins, Again, down the rabbit hole, I wandered, and here I am. I was visiting EarthSky’s post on the recent prenumbial full moon; fun post. A commenter stated NASA’s agenda and some type of funeral on the moon. The photo was lovely. I was unable to see the funeral. Well, I clicked around and landed here. Great to know of a real astronomer; Boulder Co. is lovely. To me, it is both funny and sad that the “nut cases” (I am trying to be kind), come out of the wood-work when something as fantastic as the Pluto images are made available. Thank you for your post. Keep up your factual posts. Be well. Cordially, Virginia

    Comment by Virginia L. Tyree — March 27, 2016 @ 5:28 pm | Reply

  2. Hello, NASA. Capture true to life images of objects in space, un-doctored and not modified, and the doubters of your modern accomplishments will be partially pacified. Can you do this?

    Comment by Toberr Drawforc — September 9, 2019 @ 7:07 pm | Reply

  3. Hi
    I stumbled across this posting today.

    I have often wondered why the incredible resolving power of the Hubble telescope in taking deep sky objects doesn’t translate into very detailed photos of the moon and the planets in our solar system? This:


    seems to be what we get.

    Could you do a similar analysis of apparent size and distance for Saturn compared to deep sky objects?

    Also why on earth is NASA spending that much money and time sending a spacecraft nearby to Pluto and only putting a ONE megapixel sensor on its “hi Def” astro camera when Canon are making this type of sensor


    Just asking…


    Comment by Seamus Gunn — March 8, 2020 @ 9:51 am | Reply

    • For the planets, check out this site which has a nice composite showing the angular sizes of planets (and the moon) from Earth. They’re really small. Compare that to a “small” nebula like the Ring Nebula (M57) which is about 1.0 x 1.5 arcminutes across. The Moon is around 30 arcminutes across, so it’s 1/30 the size of the moon. Which is larger than any planet appears from Earth. All those deep sky objects that you see well resolved pictures of from Hubble or other telescopes are significantly larger in the sky than any planet appears from Earth. M31, the Andromeda Galaxy, is over 6x the size of our moon in our sky.

      New Horizons was built before 2006 (it was launched in January 2006) but all the instruments were designed by 2001 based on when the proposal was submitted to NASA. You can’t change the design after that. So comparing with a 2018 article about what a company can do isn’t a fair comparison with technology literally almost 20 years ago. Anything that NASA launches must also be cleared for launching: It has to be tested and demonstrated to be able to survive the radiation environment of space.

      The camera sensor also is limited by the telescope that gathers the light for it. LORRI’s resolving power is actually about 2.3 pixels, so a higher resolution sensor wouldn’t give you a better image, just more smear at the pixel level. A larger telescope to fix this issue would have been more mass, which means the entire mission would have been different because it would take longer to get there, if it even could. But, you’re also limited by the sensitivity of the detector, and it costs more money to be more sensitive, and NASA has strict cost caps. Based on the sensitivity LORRI’s CCD has, and the brightness of the objects its taking pictures of, exposures have to be a certain duration. Based on the stability of the spacecraft, there is some drift, which again will smear things out so a higher resolution detector would not help.

      There’s also data storage on the craft, which is around 60 Gbit. The 1Mpx images take space, and even increasing the sensor to 4Mpx means you have 4x more storage required, so you would have to take 4x fewer pictures. Remember, the craft was designed prior to 2001.

      And finally, there is the data rate back to Earth. 1Mpx images took around 4-5 hours to downlink from the spacecraft at Pluto. Now they take more like 8+ hours because it’s farther away. If you want a 4Mpx camera, they are going to take 4x longer to download. So even if there weren’t all of those other issues, increasing the resolution of the CCD would limit the data you can bring down because it takes longer to get to Earth. Downloading all the data from the Pluto encounter took around 2-3 years.

      Comment by Stuart Robbins — March 8, 2020 @ 12:48 pm | Reply

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