March 24, 2015

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Magnificent Moon!

Originally published March 23, 2004


Magnificent Moon!

It's impossible to take a single image of the Moon that shows topography across the entire Earth-facing side. Pablo Lonnie Pacheco of Monterrey, Mexico has responded to this impossibility with the most spectacular piece of image processing I have ever seen. He has compiled this mosaic of the Moon by splicing together more than 150 frames from the Consolidated Lunar Atlas. The small version above does not do justice to Pablo's achievement - immediately click on the image above to see his full size mosaic. Isn't it stunning! I predict that this will be the standard image of the Moon in all future textbooks. Congratulations, Pablo!

Technical Details:
Pablo writes: This image was created combining more than 150 pictures downloaded from the Consolidated Lunar Atlas site. The 61 inch NASA telescope was used for this work. Each image was selected so the sun was low in the horizon, bringing up the most detail from the surface. It was necessary to correct each image because of librations and the distance factor (apogee and perigee). The mosaic was done in Photoshop 6.0, making sure that the orientation of the image was correspondent with the 0° in longitude and latitude, at the center, as if no libration was visible at all. I used a map of the moon as a template. This map appeared in the book "Stars and planets" by Antonin Rukl in a Spanish version. Of course I also have the Atlas of the Moon from the same author, but the first book was good enough to make sure the coordinates were right. As I used more than 150 separate images, I was able to scale, rotate and distort or spherize each one fairly well. (It was more tough near the limb) The software permits working with a semitransparent image, so I was able to work closely on each image. I tried also to be faithful to the albedo features. It took me 5 weeks working up to 12 hours per day (resting Saturday and Sunday) much time...but I'm in love with the final image.

Related Links:
Galeria de Pablo Lonnie Pacheco

Yesterday's LPOD: Double Planet

Tomorrow's LPOD: RA9

Author & Editor:
Charles A. Wood



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