Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.
2020 July 19
Explanation: No one, presently, sees the Moon rotate like this. That's because the Earth's moon is tidally locked to the Earth, showing us only one side. Given modern digital technology, however, combined with many detailed images returned by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), a high resolution virtual Moon rotation movie has been composed. The featured time-lapse video starts with the standard Earth view of the Moon. Quickly, though, Mare Orientale, a large crater with a dark centre that is difficult to see from the Earth, rotates into view just below the equator. From an entire lunar month condensed into 24 seconds, the video clearly shows that the Earth side of the Moon contains an abundance of dark lunar maria, while the lunar far side is dominated by bright lunar highlands. Currently, over 19 new missions to the Moon are under active development from eight different countries, most of which have expected launch dates in the next three years.
Authors & editors:
Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)
NASA Official: Phillip Newman Specific rights apply.
A service of: ASD at NASA / GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.