July 23, 2004

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Sun, Moon and Stars


Sun, Moon and Stars

How often can you see an image of the Moon, Sun, Venus (pink dot) and stars all in one frame? This dramatic view from a decade ago was taken by the Clementine lunar orbiter's Startracker camera. The false color enhanced version shows a green Moon - perhaps it is green cheese - with brilliant bits of the solar corona (and maybe the sun itself) sticking out from beyond. Do you recognize the part of the Moon that is visible? The terminator is near 90 degrees east - with the Earthward hemisphere illuminated. But actually, it is the Earthshine terminator! You are looking at the portion of the Moon illuminated by sun light, bounced from the Earth to the Moon. The flat patches of mare that fills craters and spaces between them is Mare Australe, and the largest crater is Lyot. Compare with an Apollo 15 view, but notice that the orientations are different - the green version has south up. Thanks to Arthur Smith for recommending this dramatic image!

Chuck Wood

Technical Details:
Startracker were short focal length cameras that took images of the Moon and background stars for use in determining the precise orbit of Clementine.

Related Links:
See brief movie

Yesterday's LPOD: Huge Fractures

Tomorrow's LPOD: An Excess of Craters

Author & Editor:
Charles A. Wood



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