November 14, 2007

Earth Over the Moon and Earthset, by Kaguya

Credit (both photos): Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)

Some beautiful photos (actually video outtakes from a high definition TV camera) from the new Japanese spacecraft Kaguya (aka "Selene"). In the above image (click on the photo to enlarge), taken on November 7th, the Moon's surface is near the South Pole, and the Australian Continent (center left) and Asian Continent (lower right) can be seen. In this image, the upper side of the Earth is the Southern Hemisphere, thus the Australian Continent looks upside-down. According to Chuck Wood over at LPOD, the crater in the lower center right (where you only the rim is exposed to the sunlight) is Shackleton; the far hill underneath the Earth is Malapert Peak, and the hill in front of that (with the crater to the left) is the "Peak of Sunlight."

In the image below, the Earth is setting toward the horizon near the Moon's South Pole. It took about 70 seconds from the left image to the right image (complete setting).

One thing I find interesting about these images is that, even though they are video outtakes, they have a different "texture" than one might expect. The images of the Earth almost look like paintings (perhaps in an Impressionist style; whaddyathink, Izzy Mo? :) )

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