images by Kaguya, from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency; north approximately up.
I am impatient - almost every day I check the Kaguya/Selene website to see if any images have been posted from the Japanese spacecraft now orbiting the Moon. Today I was rewarded by a half dozen more views that had been quietly put online. Like the earlier few images, these were taken with the small monitoring camera, and are merely hors d’oeuvres preceding the coming year-long main course of tens of thousands of high and very high resolution images, geochemical maps, topographic charts and panoramic TV views. I salivate just thinking of this glorious repast and fear that I will become a glutton. The tempting morsels shown here include basins at either end of the Moon. The left image includes the lunar south pole in the shadowed area in front of the blue solar panel (I suppose). The pole-hugging Shackleton crater is just visible as the smaller of two lit rims and shadowed interiors. Of great interest to me is the large circular feature poleward of the Schrödinger impact basin. Previous imagery hinted that this was a real feature, an older basin, and this monitor camera image strongly reinforces that interpretation. The right image is a closeup of part of the Schwarzschild basin at 71°N. This snapshot has resolution as good as the Clementine mosaic, suggesting that when the scientific cameras are turned on we will suffer from repeated jaw-dropping. A good appetizer is meant to whet the appetite for what follows. I am whetted!
CCD monitor camera with 3.2 megapixels. Left image: Oct 11, 2007, 17:06 JST, altitude ~657 km. Right image: Oct 15, 2007, 17:02 JST, altitude ~460 km.
Clementine Atlas quadrants 6 (Schwarzschild) and 140 & 144 (Schrödinger).
Yesterday's LPOD: Before and After
Tomorrow's LPOD: Not a Lucky Shot