May 8, 2014

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Ho Hum, Another Earthrise

image from NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University

The Kaguya spacecraft included a high definition TV camera specifically to capture Earthrise and Earthset at the lunar poles. The text for the recent LROC Featured Image shown here mentions that the LRO spacecraft has available a dozen chances to capture Earthrises each day but in general is too busy acquiring images of the lunar surface to tilt the camera (and spacecraft) to see them. Perhaps the mission has completed enough polar mapping now that it can take a tourist picture for the folks back home. As the former director of the Space Shuttle Earth Observations Project at Johnson Space Center I am always interested in seeing the Earth from space, but I must admit that in this image the Moon is more interesting. The large, flat-floored crater near the center of the scene is perhaps the hardest crater name to spell and pronounce: Rozhdestvenskiy, with younger Plaskett to the left. My first reaction on seeing this image was to brighten up the Moon to make a more spectacular view, but the LROC article accompanying the image states that the Moon is deliberately shown as a dark grey to represent its true faintness compared to Earth. I wonder, however, if the contrast is as flat as depicted here? I'd like to be in lunar orbit some time to check.

Chuck Wood

Related Links
21st Century Atlas chart L1.

Yesterday's LPOD: Rarely Seen Genius

Tomorrow's LPOD: Would You Like a Second Helping?


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