Discover and download the breathtaking new 164-megapixel “moon mosaic” from NASA’s Lunar Orbiter
NASA’s Science Visualization Studio has released a unique new image of our Moon’s surface in stunning detail.
The image is a mosaic of 1,231 separate images of the near side of the Moon taken by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO).
The finished mosaic was 12800×12800 pixels or 164 megapixels. It can be downloaded for free from NASA as a 72.9 megabyte file.
The separate images were all taken during the summer of 2018 by the LRO’s narrow angle camera. A CCD camera attached to a telescope, it has a focal length of 700mm and can resolve the lunar surface to less than one meter per pixel.
Each image is the best of that area chosen from over 10,000 taken by the LRO, based on the best match of brightness and gradient.
What the mosaic does not show is the far side of the Moon. Some mistakenly call it the dark side of the Moon despite the fact that it waxes and wanes in exactly the opposite way to the near side.
This montage of Moon images was released to announce the recent release of 2018 LRO image data:
Orbiting the Moon since 2009, the LRO has now produced over one million gigabytes of image data, all freely available.
The LROC website also has special features on Apollo landing sites as well as 21st century landing sites and even 21st century spacecraft impacts.
However, perhaps the best way to experience the incredible images of the Moon’s surface by LRO is in this YouTube video during which the LRO imagery is tuned to that of Claude Debussy. Moonlight (Moonlight In English). It was shown during NASA’s 60th anniversary in 2018.
Several ultra-high resolution images of the Moon are now available online.
In 2011, shortly after the LRO began its work on the Moon, a 24,000 x 24,000 pixel (576 megapixel) image was made available online for zooming, as well as for download in two versions (the largest exceeds one gigabyte). .
In 2017, the LRO team released the highest resolution near-world topographic map of the Moon ever created. It shows the shape and surface features over nearly the entire Moon with a pixel scale close to 328 feet. It is available online.
Another oddity available online from NASA is a false-color composite of 15 images of the Moon taken through three color filters by its Galileo spacecraft as it flew past the Moon in 1992 en route to Jupiter.
Last year, astrophotographer Andrew McCarthy captured an 11,022 x 11,022 pixel (121 megapixel) image of the Moon titled “Waxing Through December.” It was posted on Reddit and is therefore available online.
Also worth seeing is his Astronomy Image of the Day from yesterday, which featured a composite image of 48 photos of the Moon in different colors taken by astrophotographer Marcella Giulia Pace.
I wish you clear skies and big eyes.