Shadow angles prove location...
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A technique, called photogrammetric rectification, can produce the angle of the elevation of the sun from the shadows in pictures.

This angle can be compared with the sun angle calculated from the Nautical Almanac to confirm a specific location and time."

 
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Our final and most conclusive examination was of the photographs taken by Peary near Camp Jesup. There had never been an analysis of Peary’s photographs; accordingly our efforts represent new evidence. Techniques of photographic analysis that were pioneered during World War II developed into a fine craft during the Cold War years of satellite observation.

One technique, called photogrammetric rectification, can produce the angle of the elevation of the sun from the shadows in pictures. This angle can be compared with the sun angle calculated from the Nautical Almanac to confirm a specific location and time.

Certain prerequisites must be met. There must be shadows that begin and end within the frame of an uncropped negative; there must be a horizon to determine the orientation of the camera; and the focal length of the camera must be known. Thus not every photograph can be so analyzed.

The technique is one based on simple perspective. Imaginary lines drawn through each object and the end of its shadow would be, in the real world, parallel to the sun’s rays. Such lines drawn on a two-dimensional picture coverage at a vanishing point (often outside the picture). This vanishing point is also the point at which a ray of sunlight through the camera would cast a shadow of the camera. Thus the vanishing point defines the angle of the sun’s rays relative to the optical axis of the camera--which may be pointing up or down, as shown by the location of the horizon.

The mathematical method used to fix these relationships is spherical trigonometry, much like that used in the reduction of a navigation sight. The Nautical Almanac gives the declination of the sun at the Pole or the date, and the time (taken from Peary’s account or other sources) tells which meridian the sun is on. The altitude of the sun measured from the photographs was used to establish a rough “line of position.”   

We were able to analyze several pictures in the vicinity of Camp Jessup and concluded that Peary was probably within four or five miles of his reported position, and certainly no more than 15 miles away.


Note: Excerpts above are from New Evidence Places Peary at The Pole
By THOMAS D. DAVIES Rear Admiral, USN (Ret.)
Used with permission of Douglas R. Davies.

 


There is a strange cult of conspiracy theorists who claim that Peary and Henson could not have reached the Pole. Some are called "Cookites" or "Cookies" by the press. A few seem motivated purely by a need for attention. Certain others may, as Harvard's Dr. Allen Counter said, "need therapy".

We will eventually publish an entire article on this subject detailing the origins of Peary critics. Unfortunately it is an ugly history of slander, class hatred, racism and jealousy that started with the polar hoaxer and convicted felon Fred Cook. His descendants carry on that effort with a trust fund. There is also Britain's little "Sir" Wally who slandered Henson as an "unreliable witness";  polar man-hauler Randy Fiennes who failed 6 times to walk to the Pole; the bitter Richard Weber who can't believe Peary reached the Pole without skis; and even a librarian who is now declaring himself the world's "leading authority" - yet has never left his library.

Those who have nothing better to do with their time have created all these ridiculous theories and made endless insults against two great American heroes. Now, we are making time to straighten out the record. Enough is enough. The lunatic fringe and the racists have to move aside. Henson & Peary are great Americans who accomplished something truly noble. The critics may need therapy, but that is not our concern.

Matthew Henson and Robert E. Peary did exactly what they said they did for 18 years in the Arctic. No one has ever produced any evidence that they didn't. In fact the evidence that they did reach the Pole is overwhelming.

Bradley Robinson, January, 2002


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