The extraordinary face of the Moon

By Phil Plait | February 22, 2011 7:00 am

Seen the full Moon lately? Maybe you have, but I can pretty much guarantee you’ve never seen it like this:

[Click to enlunanate.]

Sure, that may just look like another full Moon picture, but it’s much more extraordinary than that: it’s one of the highest resolution pictures of the entire near side of the Moon ever compiled!

This is actually a mosaic of about 1300 separate images taken by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter’s Wide-Angle Camera — the total size is a whopping 24,000 x 24,000 pixels, producing a resolution of about 145 meters/pixel. The full-size version is a monster 550 Mb TIF file (seriously, don’t grab that one unless you need it!), and you can get a more palatable 1400 x 1400 pixel version with labels, too.

The images were taken over the course of two weeks in December 2010. LRO is in a polar orbit around the Moon — think of it as moving in a north/south direction over the surface instead of east/west. Over time, as the Moon rotates underneath it, LRO can see the entire surface of the Moon. As it does this, the angle of sunlight changes, so care had to be taken when creating this mosaic to make it appear seamless; otherwise shadows would appear to jump suddenly from point to point. If you look carefully you’ll see where shadows point in different directions, but it still looks pretty natural.

But it’s not: when you see the full Moon from Earth, that means the Sun is shining straight down on the Moon — the Earth is essentially directly between the Moon and Sun. That means you don’t see any shadows on the surface when the Moon is full. Pictures of it taken from Earth look flat in that case, because our eyes and brains look to shadows to sense the topographical relief — the ups and downs in the surface. But this image shows those shadows, making it a unique view of the full Moon.

But it’s also one of the highest resolution image ever made too! You can appreciate that if you look at the full-res 145 meters/pixel zoom-and-panable version, which is simply extraordinary. From the Earth, the sharpest view we can get when taking pictures of the Moon is limited by the roiling air above our heads; the smallest features we can see are roughly a kilometer or so across (sometimes it can be better when the air is steady, but not by a whole lot). Even if we pointed Hubble at the Moon the best it can do is about 200 meters. And even then it would take a lot of images to cover the entire lunar surface.

The only way to get better pictures is to go to the Moon! And that’s why these LRO images are so cool. Other missions have gone to the Moon, such as Clementine, the Lunar Orbiters, and Chandrayaan-1. These all produced high-resolution images as well, comparable and in some ways superior to what LRO has done. But it’s actually a bit difficult to find images from those missions put together into one, easy-to-view picture, though.

I downloaded the ginormous TIF image, and wow, scanning it is amazing. I saw crater chains (like in the image inset above; I suspect that actually formed from material ejected from an impact just off the frame to the upper right), cliffs, rilles, and tons of other amazing details. I’ve spent a lot of time at the eyepiece looking at the Moon, but I’ve never seen it like this. The detail is amazing, and the shadowing provides a sense of depth you just can’t get when observing the full Moon from home. It’s beautiful.

And if your brain is still intact after all that, I’ll note that the camera used to take this mosaic weighs only 900 grams — 2 pounds! And it would fit in the palm of your hand.

Amazing. And that’s all it took to get — wait for it, wait for it — the full Moonty.

So my advice: take a little time and peruse the zoomable version online, and pretend you’re floating over the lunar surface*. And remember: one day people will get to see this not on their computers, but by the simple act of turning their heads and looking out their window.

Image credit: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University


* Feel free to make rocket zoom and swoosh noises as you do, and don’t be embarrassed: I wasn’t.


Related posts:

Side view of the Moon!
Lunar triple sunset
Zoom in on a HUGE lunar bulls eye
From the Moon to the Earth

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Astronomy, Cool stuff, Pretty pictures

Comments (107)

  1. Stargazer

    That was an amazing photo mosaic!

  2. So why the “clumping” of craters at the “top” and “bottom” of the moon? Why aren’t they spread out a little more evenly?

  3. Love it! I was out the other night with my telescope and looked at the moon. Love being able to see these things up close and personal.

  4. We amateur astronomers grouse about the Moon so much, complaining about its light pollution stealing our faint fuzzies and all, it’s easy to forget that ol’ Luna is a superb astronomical target!

  5. Lars Karlsson

    This is so cool! Why don’t we have more small cameras around the solar system taking pictures like these? Surely two pounds isn’t much when you convert it to real units?

  6. I wish they had labeled the lunar landing sites, even though I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t be visible. Might any perhaps be visible on the full-size pic?

  7. Nigel Depledge

    The BA said:

    Feel free to make rocket zoom and swoosh noises as you do, and don’t be embarrassed: I wasn’t.

    What?

    But sound doesn’t carry in space – it’s a vacuum! All you’d hear is a few thumps and bumps.

    Does this count as a Poe?

  8. Nigel Depledge

    The BA said:

    Even if we pointed Hubble at the Moon the best it can do is about 200 meters. And even then it would take a lot of images to cover the entire lunar surface.

    And it would do some damage to the sensitive optics…

  9. Nigel Depledge

    Still, pedantry aside, this is a very cool pic!

  10. Chris

    Is it just me, or does the Moon’s south pole look a lot different in this image than we’re used to? I believe it’s the Tycho crater I’m thinking of.

  11. A.

    Oh, this image brings back memories of high school.

  12. “…but by the simple act of turning their heads and looking out their window. ”
    Or… you can use my telescope online.
    saludos!

  13. Wow! These images are gorgeous. You can almost make out the secret alien bases!

  14. eric

    Spectacular. Are there any documented “new” craters? Craters caused by an impact within the time span of recorded moon hisory?

  15. Oli

    Couldn’t that line of craters have been formed by a comet or small rubble-pile asteroid that broke up due to the Earth’s tidal force, then impacted the moon, like Shoemaker-Levy 9?

  16. @ That Neil Guy #2:

    So why the “clumping” of craters at the “top” and “bottom” of the moon? Why aren’t they spread out a little more evenly?

    If I remember my lunology correctly, the thinking is that the spin of the moon about it’s axis creates enough centrifugal force at the equator to send the molten material within the moon’s core slightly closer to the surface than it is at the poles, where the centrifugal force is not as strong. Thus, when an object smacked into the surface near the poles, there was plenty of hard, solid moon crust to hold together and form a nice crater. When objects struck near the equator, however, the solid crust was thin enough to crack and release a flow of molten moon goo that flooded over the surface, covering up any craters and rough spots left behind by the impacts. That’s why you see more maria (“seas”) near the equator; they’re the solidified remnants of those old molten flows.

  17. @ Chris #10:

    Is it just me, or does the Moon’s south pole look a lot different in this image than we’re used to? I believe it’s the Tycho crater I’m thinking of.

    Yeah, that’s the result of the angle of sunlight the good doctor was talking about. When you see Tycho with the sun blaring straight down on it, you get the reflected light from its extensive rays, which spread out for hundreds of miles. Ditto many other craters and bright highlands.

    Take the rays and bright spots away, and it looks rather unfamiliar.

    That, and that big monolith in the center is missing.

  18. So, using the zoomable image, how does one “save” the current zoomed location? If someone were to find an “interesting” image (such as your crater chain), how could you tell someone else “zoom to X/Y”? (And, if you were given the “X/Y” to zoom to, how could you get there?)

    As opposed to, say, “zoom in to the 1 0’clock position of the edge of Mare Imbrium and you’ll see what looks like a flood plain (complete with a winding dried-up riverbed) flowing into Mare Frigoris”.

  19. uptownZombie

    @kuhnigget

    @ That Neil Guy #2:

    > > So why the “clumping” of craters at the “top” and “bottom” of the moon? Why aren’t they spread out a little more evenly?

    > If I remember my lunology correctly, the thinking is that the spin of the moon about it’s axis creates enough centrifugal force at the equator to send the molten material within the moon’s core slightly closer to the surface than it is at the poles, where the centrifugal force is not as strong. Thus, when an object smacked into the surface near the poles, there was plenty of hard, solid moon crust to hold together and form a nice crater. When objects struck near the equator, however, the solid crust was thin enough to crack and release a flow of molten moon goo that flooded over the surface, covering up any craters and rough spots left behind by the impacts. That’s why you see more maria (“seas”) near the equator; they’re the solidified remnants of those old molten flows.

    But the moon doesn’t spin, right? Or am I making a fool of myself by bring that question up?

  20. The HST is routinely pointed at the Moon, for infrared calibration. Sometimes, a visible camera also takes data. Since HST wasn’t designed to investigate the moon, tracking software had to be invented for it. It’s not so great. I’ve heard that images from the ground can fairly easily outperform HST on the Moon.

    Stuff brought back from the Moon has been looked at with lots of instruments, like scanning electron microscopes. So, some lunar images have a resolution of, what, millionth’s of a meter? Smaller?

    The Mars rovers have a camera that can see details as small as a 20th of millimeter.

    LRO is awesome, but it’s not quite as good as going to ground.

    This is a totally awesome full Moon image. I can hardly wait for a far side version, if that’s possible.

    The big monolith is buried near the magnetic anomally. We’ll have to dig it up first.

  21. Rob

    Never mind dont post this haha I just remembered google earth

  22. @ stephen:

    “Deliberately buried, eh?”

    Cue Lux Aeterna

  23. One day we’ll get something like Google Maps for the moon zooming down to one or two meters a pixel. Then we’ll just need streets so we can get a street view.

    The moon is fairly boring after a little while of looking at it. You just have mountains, valleys, and craters with not a lot going on visually. The only thing I find interesting is the images of the lunar lander positions and the resolution here isn’t great enough to see those. I need to go track those down again.

  24. SirButcher

    I just found the landing site of the Apollo 15, and the route of the moon rover is barely visible :)

  25. Arthur Maruyama

    There aren’t many (web published) examples of Hubble taking pictures of the Moon, but here are two of them:
    http://hubblesite.org/gallery/album/objects-from/pr1999014b
    The first two are of the area around Copernicus Crater and a close up of the crater itself cropped from the first, and the second pair are of the area around Aristarchus Crater and a similar close up.

  26. Stumps

    oooo I can see my house : )

  27. Great question from #18. It would be great to be able to link directly to interesting features.

    Phil, here’s a question. Would it be possible to see the traces of human activity in this image? Or would that be less than one pixel?

  28. @25, I looked and zoomed and looked some more and I couldn’t see a whisp of Apollo 15’s anthing. I even downloaded the giant image and tried and nothing. 145m/pixel is just too large to even see the tracks. Given they’re only approximately 2 meters wide, despite being much longer. It’s like looking at a piece of paper edge-on… despite it being long enough to be easily seen, being a fraction of a millimeter wide makes it invisible from a distance.

    Phil did once post images of rover trails for more details photos from the LRO.

  29. Jamey

    The most distracting thing in the 1400×1400 version is the faint banding running vertically. It seems regular enough that a compensating wavefunction should have been derivable – but I’m really not up enough on image processing to say for sure.

  30. @ uptown zombie:

    But the moon doesn’t spin, right? Or am I making a fool of myself by bring that question up?

    The moon most definitely spins. It just so happens its spin matches the rate at which it travels around the earth in its orbit.

    If it didn’t spin, we’d see it appear to spin.

  31. Jamey

    @kuhnigget#16 – You forget that the maria are pretty much a near-side phenomena only. The far-side doesn’t really have them.

    @kuhnigget#32 – Spin relative to what is always the question. Our usual frame of reference for that is the “fixed stars”, but even that is pretty question-begging.

  32. MattF

    Jamey: Spin relative to what is always the question.

    Not always. A non-rotating reference frame has no accelerations from its rotation. Even if you pick a rotating one as “non-rotating” for convenience, acceleration terms will have to be accounted for.

  33. benj

    This is amazing!

    I think LRO should have been able to make pictures of the far side. Since we have shadows on the near side, it mean the sun was not always facing it and was lighting a part of the far side.
    But maybe was the orbit synchronization not optimal to do so?

  34. Aaron

    Hrm, since it is polar orbit, is it possible there is, or will shortly be, a composite image of the “far side” of the moon?

    And what then would be the possibility of some sort of animated or video representation of the whole moon rotating and lit?

  35. Jens Ulrik
  36. nik

    if the pics are taken on a north south orbit as the moon turns under it, why dont we have a similar pic of the ‘rear’ side of the moon?

    That would be far more interesting!

    Perhaps they dont want to show us the alien townships all over it!

    chuckle chuckle.

  37. @Benj,
    The LRO did map the far side as well. I don’t know if it did one of these detailed wide field views, but it wasn’t all that long ago that it mapped the whole moon.

  38. @ Jamey:

    @kuhnigget#16 – You forget that the maria are pretty much a near-side phenomena only. The far-side doesn’t really have them.

    I believe the lack of maria on the far side has to do with the tidal pull from the Earth. Once the moon was tidally locked to the Earth, with one side always facing us, the liquid magma inside the moon would have been tugged more toward the near side and thus would have been closer to the surface. These tidal forces were more than enough to compensate for the centrifugal forces around the equator. The far side, like the poles, were left with a significantly thicker crust that didn’t fracture and release moon goo like the thin crust on the near side, so the cratering is just as intense as at the poles because it was never “washed away.”

    That, and I believe the Earth itself shielded the near side from a certain percentage of impacts, so the far side just got more hits than the near side.

    And then Martin Landau and Barbara Bain showed up and ruined everything.

  39. Jens Ulrik

    Inspired by the picture I googled a bit and found that there are major things still unknown about moon, such as:

  40. Matt B.

    Ooh! I hope someone puts this into the next version of Celestia.

  41. Jens Ulrik

    1. How did it form? The currently favored impact theory still has lots of problems: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giant_impact_hypothesis

  42. Jens Ulrik

    2. Why are there almost no seas (marias) on the far side? See topographic map from Clementine here: http://www.lpi.usra.edu/lunar/missions/clementine/images/ Couldn’t find a well supported theory for that.

  43. Jens Ulrik

    Sorry for my seperated posts, but I seem to be fighting with Phil’s spam filter for some reason. If this message gets through, I’d just like to say that I have a third unresolved point about our moon.

  44. Sawdust Sam

    @Endyo#30 – I’m not surprised you can’t see any signs of human intervention. About 10 years ago I saw a documentary about it that explained everything really clearly. I think it was made by Fox . . .

    From what’s been said, I assume that most of the craters were made about 3.8bn years ago when the moon was still hot stuff, which would explain why they are generally round in shape.

    But in more modern times, shouldn’t some impact craters have a more droplet shape as objects strike at various angles and there’s no molten material to shape the outline?

    Sorry, couldn’t resist the conspiracy reference.

  45. Joseph G
  46. If this message gets through, I’d just like to say that I have a third unresolved point about our moon.

    This should be good.

  47. Jens Ulrik
  48. kytkjytjy

    you won’t see any evidence of apollo missions.

  49. Messier Tidy Upper

    @Jens Ulrik : Your comments are visible here – to me anyhow.

    It may be that they’re going into moderation & take a while to pop up.

    Comments with links in them always go into moderation but usually appear eventually. Usually you get to see them with an accompanying “awaiting moderation” message.

  50. Messier Tidy Upper

    @32. kuhnigget :

    @ uptown zombie: “But the moon doesn’t spin, right? Or am I making a fool of myself by bring that question up?”

    The moon most definitely spins. It just so happens its spin matches the rate at which it travels around the earth in its orbit.
    If it didn’t spin, we’d see it appear to spin.

    Yes indeed. See this good if soundless animation here :

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OZIB_leg75Q

    By astrogirlwest. :-)

    There’s also libration to consider here as well :

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libration

    &

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xmQ8r_dL9wg

    which is the “rocking of the Moon which enables us to see nearly 60% of it incl. regions at the edges of the lunar farside. :-)

  51. Messier Tidy Upper

    @52. kytkjytjy Says: you won’t see any evidence of apollo missions.

    Maybe not on this mosiac – although it seems some folks have eg. #25. SirButcher – but check out these links :

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2009/07/17/apollo-landing-sites-imaged-by-lro/

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2009/12/14/lro-spots-apollo-12-footsteps/

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/tag/lro/page/3/

    and also plenty more.

    If I recall correctly, they’ve also spotted the Russian Lunakhod rover on the Moon too. :-)

    I presume you’re not a Moon Hoax conspiracy theorist right?

  52. kundune

    Hey, the moon doesn’t spin. If it did then Pink Floyd could not have made “Dark Side of the Moon.”

    Why do all the craters look like they are from direct hits, that is, from objects coming from directly above? Shouldn’t we see the results of some “glancing blows” with elongated craters or splatter?

  53. I see a rabbit pounding out mochi.

  54. wow i was neil armstrong for a moment there!!…

  55. Jens Ulrik (#44):

    Why are there almost no seas (marias) on the far side? See topographic map from Clementine here: http://www.lpi.usra.edu/lunar/missions/clementine/images/ Couldn’t find a well supported theory for that.

    My layman’s answer (which may be totally wrong, of course):

    The “far side”, not being shielded from impacts by the Earth, simply has enough impact craters to cover any maria which may have formed.

  56. Loengard

    And the Farside? Are their any photos like this of the Nearside?

  57. john dahl

    the 1400×1400 is gorgeous; but the moon has always been gorgeous.
    couldn’t the labels have been buried, to be revealed by moving the cursor ?
    some one, please market this image, as a quality poster in LARGE size

  58. http://www.astro.umd.edu/~dcr/reprints/bottke_icarus126,470.pdf

    One explanation for crater chains like the one in the Davy crater is that gravitational aggregates are disrupted and hit in a series of impacts most similar to Jupiter and comet Shoemaker-Levy 9.

    The moon’s tidal effect is much less than Jupiter’s would be so the upper limit on what can be “disrupted” is lower using this model.

  59. http://lroc.sese.asu.edu/news/index.php?/archives/287-The-Lunar-South-Pole.html

    The LROC mosaic of the south pole is also quite awesome. I have 2 high-school student teams searching for crater chains in this region using LROC data as part of a research project through the Center for Science and Exploration and the Lunar and Planetary Institute. I have learned SO much about the moon. My astronomy students will benefit. Or suffer lunar boredom. :)

    http://www.lpi.usra.edu/nlsi/education/hsResearch/

  60. Johan

    Anybody seen the flag of the US planted by Armstrong?

  61. Jens Ulrik

    Is Phil’s e-mail adress the following: thebadastronomer@gmail.com? I’m having problems posting here and I’d like to find out why.

  62. Sawdust Sam

    @Joseph G#48 & @kundune#58

    Yes – found the Schiller crater just under the ‘d’ of ‘Schickard’. The explanations for the structure still seem to refer to an origin during the hot period.

    But I’m with kundune, why aren’t there more? And why aren’t there more during the cooler period? How do you distinguish earlier and later craters? There must have been experiments firing stones at various angles into sand over a rocky base just to see what happens – I’m fairly sure there have been simulating Earth impacts.

    Pardon my ignorance – lunar crater creation is an entirely new subject to me.

  63. @ 67:

    I believe one of the reasons why the “hot period” was so hot was because of all the planetesimals banging into the moon and stirring it up. The age of bombardment didn’t last forever, however, as fairly quickly everything that was going to hit the moon (and other large bodies) did so. After that, the impacts were much more sporadic and the moon cooled.

    I seem to remember watching an old Nova TV show in the 70s that showed experiments with big tanks of wet sand being bombarded with various sizes and shapes of “planetesimals.” I suppose it’s more effective to use computer models these days.

  64. I don’t think you can resolve the US flag, even with this image. I’m wondering if instead you can see the lander platform. We’ve left a lot of “junk” there all around the face of the moon, such as moon buggies and other equipment.

    You can see where Apollo 11 landed using this map:

    http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary/lunar/moon_landing_map.jpg

    It’s on the edge of the Sea of Tranquility of course. But when you zoom up in that area on the TIF there’s just lots of dots which are primarily craters. Maybe one of those little specks represents the lander platform and a nearby buggy. I doubt we’ll ever see the flag this way, it’s just too thin. I think even the platform might be just a couple of pixels wide in the TIFF.

  65. Yes, i wish lables would have been applied so we could see where landing have been and where the usa flag stands.

  66. CB

    What?

    But sound doesn’t carry in space – it’s a vacuum! All you’d hear is a few thumps and bumps.

    Does this count as a Poe?

    Also, the picture of the moon your looking at isn’t actually the moon, your mouse isn’t really a rocket, and if you tried to use it as one you would quickly find yourself exposed to the vacuum and dead in short order.

    But on another note, maybe I’m wrong, but I’d think being inside a rocket ship while it’s burning would be quite noisy.

  67. C.S.Haviland:

    I don’t think you can resolve the US flag, even with this image. I’m wondering if instead you can see the lander platform.
    […]
    I doubt we’ll ever see the flag this way, it’s just too thin. I think even the platform might be just a couple of pixels wide in the TIFF.

    The image resolution is 145 meters/pixel, according the Phil. How large do you think the landers were? At that resolution, the Houston Astrodome, St. Peter’s Basilica, and the VAB at Cape Canaveral would each be less than 2 pixels wide.

    As for the flags themselves, I think I’ve read that “experts” figure they’ve probably disintegrated due to UV exposure.

  68. Carl M

    Why a Tiff file? A jpeg of the same dimensions would be a fraction of the size.

  69. Messier Tidy Upper

    @67. Jens Ulrik : Yes, I think so, he should the details somewhere here on this site – check the sidebar – if memory serves.

    @61. Ken B :

    Jens Ulrik (#44): “Why are there almost no seas (marias) on the far side? See topographic map from Clementine here: … Couldn’t find a well supported theory for that.”

    My layman’s answer (which may be totally wrong, of course): The “far side”, not being shielded from impacts by the Earth, simply has enough impact craters to cover any maria which may have formed.

    My understanding is that the crust of the Moon’s nearside is pulled towards Earth by our planet’s gravity and thus thinner than the crust of the lunar Farside thus the Earth’s gravity helped the lava seas that are the mare form on the lunar nearside. But then I too could be mistaken here.

  70. Messier Tidy Upper

    See also :

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Far_side_of_the_Moon#Differences

    Looks like both my understanding and (# 61) Ken B’s are right with both factors probably coming into play. :-)

    Also note the existence of at least one farside mare :

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mare_Moscoviense

    With more on the Lunar maria here :

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lunar_mare

    if that helps. :-)

  71. Aleina

    It is rumoured that a lot of information about findings on the moon has been classified by the Americans. In 1988 human footprints on the lunar surface was unveiled by a noted Chinese official who was a member of the nation’s space programme. It was stated by the said official that such information has been received from a reliable source and accused the Americans for concealing such fact. Such photos were from August 3rd 1969 that is two weeks after Armstrong and Aldrin stepped on the lunar surface i.e. on July 20th 1969.

    http://funnyandspicy.com/three-extraterrestrial-spaceships-will-attack-earth-in-2012

  72. g

    “Why do all the craters look like they are from direct hits, that is, from objects coming from directly above? Shouldn’t we see the results of some “glancing blows” with elongated craters or splatter?”

    It turns out that almost all impact angles produce a circular crater instead of something more elongated. The crater is formed by an explosion. The explosion’s energy is distributed spherically, pretty much independent of the impact direction. Think of it like the circular ripples of a rock hitting water.

  73. flip

    So #80 Aleina… you’re basically saying that after men walked on the moon, they left footprints? And that the Americans covered it up, despite taking photos of said footprints?

    [sarcasm]Quick, stop the presses! Walking on the moon leaves footprints![/sarcasm]

    Seriously folks, the Americans don’t need to cover up a bunch of footprints left by humans. And the Chinese would have no need to say they did.

    The astronauts’ footprints won’t get blown away by the wind, so the Chinese would be pretty darn stupid to suggest that footprints on the moon could be seen 20 years after the astronauts were there. (Unless you have some in an area of the moon not visited by humans?)
    http://www.nasa.gov/audience/forstudents/k-4/home/F_Apollo_11.html

    … But hey, you’re also into 2012 bunkum, so why not believe in some crazy conspiracy about footprints? Not that you actually make anything but a vague reference to ‘additional’ moonwalkers.

    Pretty much anything mentioned in the Funny and Spicy link can be explained by reading the other posts on this blog. Feel free to use the search function for posts on 2012, UFOs, HAARP or anything else.

    (For fun people, the above link mentions a dead human body has been found on the moon by Chinese officials. No need to read the rest of the site, it’s a whole blog full of stupid. It does nothing but breathlessly recount rumours without ever actually revealing their sources, references, or does any citing. The ‘origin’ for the story is Pravda)

  74. Here’s where the “zoomable image” could really use the “save the location of the image I’m looking at… How about a “pi”-shaped crater chain that I found?

    http://www.hvcomputer.com/temp/Moon-PiCrater.png

  75. Joy

    Beautiful image. Anyone know what the crater/crater chain is that is shown in the image inset? Would love to compare it to my own photos.

  76. @ 58 kundane:

    Coincidentally, this month’s issue of Sky & Telescope magazine has a good article on lunar impacts, and how “grazing” hits produce circular craters unless the angle is really steep, in which case they produce slightly elongated or multiple craters.

  77. shawn

    I don’t find this special or exciting. All this effort and time and money. For what! another black and white photo that doesn’t seem to have the resolution that the photo’s from the 60’s had. This is just another attempt to blow smoke in your face. Until we get sharp color photo’s from NASA we can be sure NASA is still up to there tricks. Don’ expect to find anything interesting in this sanatized version for public consumption. Good luck

  78. @ Shawn #97:

    What a sad, sad, little life you must lead.

  79. Harold

    ObHoaxBeliever: Aha! More shadows pointing in different directions. This obviously proves the moon landing never happened because the moon itself is a hoax! Clearly the moon is as flat as the earth itself, painted by the lowest bidder on a transparent sphere.

    Another point: we knew decades before the alleged landing that humans traveling over 20-25 MPH would suffocate due to the air getting sucked out of their lungs. Breath goes in, breath goes out, never a miscommunication!

  80. Pat

    @ 19. uptownZombie

    “But the moon doesn’t spin, right? Or am I making a fool of myself by bring that question up?”

    That’s a fairly common misconception which people arrive at because they always see the same face of the moon. In fact the moon spins at the same rate at which it orbits Earth (ie it is tidally locked). You can demonstrate this using two spherical or circular objects. Put a mark on one side of one object then move it in a circle around the other. If you keep the mark (representing the familiar face of the moon) pointing at the the central object (Earth) you will see that it does indeed rotate on its axis.

  81. Maygyver

    I downloaded the large image and as I am scanning across the surface I am seeing images that would seem vaguely familiar to most people who spent considerable time welding. The majority of the craters that I see appear more like a molten bubble that popped such as when welding through contaminated material and the higher areas remind me of slag deposits. I’ve never studied the moon, or astronomy, so of course I am comparing this to my own experiences. Still, it appears to me as a large molten surface after it has cooled and hardened.

  82. Mikael in DK

    Bloody hell,

    this sure beats my pathetic attempts of taking pictures of the moon with my DSLR!
    This is mind blowing brilliant.

    Thanks for all your work and thanks for letting us watch.

    Kind regards,

    Mikael

  83. cb91710

    ThatNeilGuy.

    The craters are clustered near the edges of the image because what we see is always facing Earth. When what we see is facing into incoming meteor showers, it is shielded by Earth. Our gravity pulls some pieces closer and results in some impacts on the “face”, but for the most part, the Earth serves as a broom to sweep the path clear.

    Likewise, when the moon is leading Earth through a meteor shower, the impacts are on the back side of the moon. Photographs of the far side reveal an incredibly cratered surface, and the cratering is relatively consistent.

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