… I'm just on my way up to Clavius

By Phil Plait | September 14, 2012 12:08 pm

Thierry Legault is no stranger to this blog (see Related Posts below or search the blog for his stuff); his astrophotos are always amazing. Always. And he just sent me a link to a new batch that are jaw-dropping: very high-resolution images of the Moon, Mercury, and even Uranus. As an example, here is a shot he got of the giant crater Clavius on the Moon:

I shrank that image way down to fit the blog; click it to monolithenate. The detail is astonishing. There are lots more shots of the Moon like that on his site; and you most certainly want to click the links to Uranus and Mercury above. You can see details on both planets (the surface for Mercury, and cloud tops for Uranus)!

I always say that astronomy is much more than just pretty pictures, but sometimes, when the pictures are as pretty as this, astronomy is quite simply art.

[One gold star to anyone who can identify the title of this post without looking it up.]

Image credit: Thierry Legault


Related Posts:

Interloper of the Venus transit
China’s space lab has a spot in the Sun
Doomed ROSAT captured in video
Atlantis, one last time in the Sun
SERIOUSLY jaw-dropping pictures of Endeavour and the ISS!
INSANELY awesome solar eclipse picture

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Astronomy, Pretty pictures

Comments (36)

Links to this Post

  1. Over the Moon « The Skeptical Astronomer | September 15, 2012
  1. uudale

    Heywood Floyd from 2001?

  2. Marc Schott

    Easy peasy, it’s from 2001, isn’ it? The scene where Prof. Floyd meets Russian colleagues onboard the space station, I think…

    And those pictures are *incredible*, thanks for sharing!

  3. Crux Autralis

    Second vote for Dr Floyd.

  4. I was thinking “2001” or “Space: 1999″, and leaning towards “2001”. I couldn’t identify the scene, however. From the two previous posts, I see I was correct. :-)

    And, of course, great pictures again. Are you sure he doesn’t have access to a space telescope?

  5. Ohio Mike
  6. Half a star. Too easy.

    Deliberately buried, eh?

  7. Lab Rat Jason

    Is that 2001: A Space Oddesy?

  8. arcblast

    wow this shot is a nice comparison point. my 8″ f/10 can push about 410x mag before the image gets almost impossible to focus. heh, seems like with a 14″ edgehd @ f/20 one can push that boundary a good bit further. now… how to justify blowing 6 grand on a new OTA…? hmmm…

  9. Max Power

    If you look at the Moon pic with the title ‘Arzachel and the Straight Wall’, it looks like there is a stick figure with a thumbs up in the bottom left crater. Looks like XKCD is looking to increase his audience.

  10. That’s from my favorite movie.

    I’m amazed anyone can get that picture from the ground. Wow.

  11. Brian D

    Phil, Amazing pictures. Looking at it, at this high of resolution, begs a question. Most of the surface is pockmarked by craters of various sizes. But there are also large areas that look butter smooth, as if it were a see of dust. Knowing that there isn’t any atmosphere, how is this done? Is it dust from the big impacts that have settled down around the crater and were recent enough that they haven’t had time to be re-pocked? If so, where did all of that dust come from?

  12. ctj

    i can’t see the base at all. must be a really effective quarantine.

  13. Mme Ame

    Un-freakin’-believable! This guy’s REALLY SERIOUSLY good!

  14. Sheldonc

    Well, it’s not Tycho, so oh well, but an incredible photo!

    And “monolithenate” is a nice new word! Is there a step between “embiggen” and “monolithenate”?

    And now I have to watch 2001. Again. Yay!

  15. Even with the extra clue I had to look it up. Embarrassing. Neat pic though.

  16. Acronym Jim

    The Cheers tv series? On my way up to (Cliff) Clavius?

    No?

  17. Blargh

    Stunning! Getting that level of detail from the ground, with a portable telescope even, is absolutely amazing.

    Once again your photos make my jaw drop, Monsieur Legault.

  18. artbot

    I’m still wondering if anyone ever picked up the pink sweater at the lost & found.

  19. RobinMD

    I’m afraid that I’m just not at liberty to discuss that…but I’m still recovering from watching the pan am clipper docking with the space station to the blue danube waltz…best.scene.ever…and I’ll take a bush baby for my birthday!

  20. Atticus

    “I always say that astronomy is much more than just pretty pictures, but sometimes, when the pictures are as pretty as this, astronomy is quite simply art.”

    Will Durant quote – “Every science begins as philosophy and ends as art.”

  21. stargene

    Everybody look at the region again:

    Okay… Does anyone else see an odd pattern of broken ridges &/or shallow
    troughs in this beautiful Clavius shot, running more or less from upper
    left to lower right? At first I thought this was a transient effect created
    by the sun’s angle relative to the surface in the region around Clavius.
    And that it might also be related to the fact that all of the craters’
    apparent ellipses have their semi-major axes aligned in that direction
    too. But closer inspection shows those axes at a different angle from
    the ridge/trough pattern angle.

    So now I’m not so sure. If this were real, what would have created it?
    :-

  22. kat wagner

    I dunno, I don’t care. It’s just someplace else and it’s beautiful.

  23. Rift

    Monolithinate- grins

  24. alfaniner

    “See you next Wednesday!”

  25. RAF

    I thought this was going to be about Jay Windley’s website…

    Guess it’s just the influence of too much Moon hoax garbage.

  26. James Evans

    Does anyone else see an odd pattern of broken ridges &/or shallow
    troughs in this beautiful Clavius shot, running more or less from upper
    left to lower right?…If this were real, what would have created it?

    I’m sorry, stargene, but I’m really not at liberty to discuss this.

  27. Daniel J. Andrews

    Any sufficiently amazing picture will draw comments of “faked” complete with “evidence” to demonstrate said fakeness. (I’m sure there must be a name for this behaviour…some sort of variant of Poe’s law).

  28. Messier Tidy Upper

    [One gold star to anyone who can identify the title of this post without looking it up.]

    That’d be a ‘Space Odyssey 2001′ movie line surely?

    The second Lunar monolith was TMA-1 – Tycho Magnetic Anomaly-1 – but the human lunar base was at Clavius crater.

  29. I totally had to look it up. I thought it was a song reference. *BEH!* No gold star for me. I’ll console myself with the serious Sirius rainbow twinkle when the clouds clear. Link to 2001 script (minus proto-speech): http://sundry.wikispaces.com/transcript-2001

  30. REN

    This one was easy, from the movie “2001: A Space Odyssey.” I’ve read and reread almost everything that Arthur C. Clarke ever wrote, but I’m guessing these words come from Stanley Kubrick for the screenplay. Not Arthur’s style and it’s not in the book.

  31. Stan9fromouterspace

    Tom Hanks, who some years ago was quoted as saying, “I’ve seen 2001 thirteen times… projected!” has described and codified the “Heywood Floyd Moment,” that uncomfortable, squirming-in-your-chair feeling when the conversation goes to places that you know you shouldn’t – “Well, I’m actually not at liberty to discuss this…”

  32. Chris A.

    @stargene (#21):

    “Does anyone else see an odd pattern of broken ridges &/or shallow
    troughs…running more or less from upper left to lower right?”

    I think you’re seeing the effects of the “splat” from Tycho, which is to the lower right of this image, combined with the fact that sunlight is, indeed, coming from that direction, tending to elongate shadows in a “lower right to upper left” direction.

  33. Allison Newman

    @Chris A.
    “from Tycho, which is to the lower right of this image”

    Actually, I’m pretty sure that Tycho is off to the bottom *left* of this image… Compare the image above with this one for example:
    http://askville.amazon.com/flag-Man-in-the-Moon%27s-face/AnswerViewer.do?requestId=15251541

    In particular, note the two big craters on the edge of Clavius, as well as the two smaller craters inside Clavius. Now note those same craters in the image that I linked to above. Tycho is inline with the two craters on the edge…

  34. Nigel Depledge

    MTU (29) said:

    The second Lunar monolith was TMA-1 – Tycho Magnetic Anomaly-1 – but the human lunar base was at Clavius crater.

    The second Lunar monolith?

    The second Lunar monolith?

    I thought TMA-1 was the first (and only) found on the moon, but the second monolith we see in the film. Is it, or not really?

  35. Nigel Depledge

    Spiffing shot, BTW.

NEW ON DISCOVER
OPEN
CITIZEN SCIENCE
ADVERTISEMENT

Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!

ADVERTISEMENT

See More

ADVERTISEMENT
Collapse bottom bar
+

Login to your Account

X
E-mail address:
Password:
Remember me
Forgot your password?
No problem. Click here to have it e-mailed to you.

Not Registered Yet?

Register now for FREE. Registration only takes a few minutes to complete. Register now »