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Monday, 18 February 2013

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I'd wager the spooks aren't too concerned about the bokeh of the lenses on their U2/SR71/Keyhole cameras.

The funny thing is that for earth observation satellites - just like with ordinary photographic equipment - color usually requires much more consideration for calibration than spatial resolution. For spectral calibration of satellites natural features with known spectral properties are most common but artificial test targets are also known to be used. So it is not too far fetched to look for a giant GretagMacbeth color checker somewhere out there (although it would most likely primarily contain infrared colors).

Does anyone have an explanation of these patterns - ?

That image certainly is a striking one, Mike.

Yes, an interesting article. Must appeal to all us middle-aged readers of 1970s Modern and Popular Photography.

Ft. Huachuca is the Army test center for communications. I have been there many times training them in fiber optics. Here is where they test many experimental comm systems in secret so I assume this is a phased array antenna or similar.
BTW, you can visit this "Hell hole" and see the museum of the "Buffalo Soldiers" - the first black soldiers in the US Army.

Don't forget the Corona spy satellite program of the 1960s. Corona satellites used two oscillating cameras to expose kilometers of 70mm film, which was subsequently parachuted back to earth and caught in mid air by aircraft trailing tripwires. Wikipedia has a good description.
By the end of the program, resolution had improved to around (and probably better than) 2 meters. These images are now gold for archaeologists.

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