Why aren't shadows parallel in the Moon photos?

Some photographs taken during the Moon landings show shadows that are converging. Conspiracy theorists argue that, since light rays from the sun are parallel, any shadows cast by the Sun should also be parallel. Shadows that are not parallel are said to be caused by studio lighting, either by a light source which is relatively close and/or by multiple light sources.

The truth is that converging shadows are a well-know optical phenomena in photography. There is nothing mysterious about it, in fact you can easily replicate this effect yourself as per the example below.

Converging shadows on the Moon
Apollo photograph which appears to show that the shadows are not parallel, highlighted by the red lines.
Converging shadows
This photo, taken with only the Sun as a light source, clearly shows how any camera will produce the same effect.

This effect is caused by several factors including perspective and the way the surface is inclined relative to the camera and light source.

If this is not proof enough, there are two more points to note:

  1. A light source placed close to the objects would not create converging shadows - it would create diverging shadows.
  2. Multiple light sources create multiple shadows. We do not see this in the Apollo photos.

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Author: Dave Owen.