Sunday, March 18, 2012

Close Up images of the Moon

One question I often hear in connection with my public astronomy sessions or my astro photos is, "can you see the flag the astronauts left on the moon" or variations on that theme.   Well.. no ground based telescopes can see details that small on the moon, but the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter satellite can.

NASA has just released some images taken from about 25km above the moon's surface that show the flag, the astronauts footprints, the lunar rover etc.

I did some searching around to see if I could find hi rez versions of the images and came across the University of Arizona's LROC Operations Center web site.  It has all sorts of interesting stuff.
Here is a link to a page with press release images.  Click on these helpfully labeled press release images to see them larger.  Click on March 5 and March 6 on the calendar to see Apollo landing sites.

This browse gallery page has larger images.  They are in long narrow strips that recorded the lunar surface as the orbiter passed over it.  You can zoom in on these images to see the details shown on the press release images.  And you can download these huge image files as well.  I'm going to try cropping some of these images to create hi-rez lunar desktop wallpaper for my computer.

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