NASA Posts Half Gigabyte Pic of the Moon

Paul Lilly

The Earth's moon isn't made of cheese after all. We know this because NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter has been circling the Moon at low altitude since around the middle of 2009, sending high resolution images back to our home planet. More recently, NASA posted a ginormous 24,000-pixel square mosaic of the Moon's nearside as never seen in this kind of photographic detail before. The TIF image is available for download, assuming your PC can handle a 549MB photo.

According to Sky & Telescope magazine , the image was taken with LRO's wide-angle camera, which provides surface context for narrow-angle shots. The more than half gigabyte image was acquired during a two-week period in December with 1,300 black-and-white frames creating a full-disk mosaic measuring 24,000 pixels across.

Timing was critical in creating the mega-sized image, as it was important to keep the Sun high up in the lunar sky but not straight overhead. This was necessary to have enough shadowing to define crater rims and other topography.

You can download the image here .

Image Credit: NASA

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