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November 14, 2007


Filed under: — chuckwood @ 12:01 am

image from Kaguya/Selene spacecraft of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)

The perfect ellipse of a crater, with sunlight just kissing its rim crest, is a future outpost for humanity: Shackleton crater at the lunar South Pole. The Kaguya spacecraft HDTV has captured its first breath-taking videos of the lunar limb as Earth rises and sets. The image above, from the Earthset video, is destined to be a poster and screensaver decorating work surfaces and imaginations of every would be lunar explorer. Shackleton, with Malapert Peak on the horizon, is the goal for the American return to the Moon. Comet ice, dusted onto the always dark floor of the crater over eons, may have created a treasure of volatiles to jumpstart lunar society. Malapert, and the Peak of Sunlight just in front of it, are the Middle-East of the Moon - locations where constant power (non-polluting solar) will be readily available as the Sun circles the horizon around them. This image shows these targets as we will see then a decade or so from now on approach to landing.

Chuck Wood

Thanks to Paul Spudis for information about the Peak of Sunlight.

Technical Details:
November 7, 2007; 12:07 p.m. JST. See the videos here.

Related Links:
Rükl plate VI.

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  1. Every single LPOD I use as a starting point of daily ivestigation. I am using Virtual Moon Atlas (VMA) as my prime source. What advice can u give me on what also can I use for identifying unknown (to me) craters and features? In picture as today (unknown teritory for me), it would really be helpfull (again to me) if there were names or numbers for identification. Secondly, in VMA datebase ther is no Shackleton but there is Malapert, but again, where is it on the picture? Is the Malapert Peak official name and is that a hill/mountain that the Eart actally sts behind on the movie? What about Peak of Sunlight, playing with names and ideas or actual name? What’s the name of the bigger crater on the left side of picture? What are the to eliptical craters (bigger in the middle and smaler SE of it)that show at the (almost) end of movie? This are just humble questions, not reguests, but as I am stuck with my informations, can’t go on, don’t know where to look…Otherwise, this searching and finding part is the most exciting part of every days LPOD for me, it’s just I cant progress any more today lol ;) Thank you for all!
    PS: I do apologise for all grammer errors today and in the future. LPOD comment are all english writing practice I get in this days ;)

    Comment by SandiBandi — November 14, 2007 @ 5:14 am

  2. Extraordinary!!!
    Almost like one of Chesley Bonestell’s paintings! (without Bonestell’s typical “Matterhorn”-peaks of course).

    Danny Caes/ Cogevinas.

    Comment by caligula — November 14, 2007 @ 7:46 am

  3. Sandi-

    Shackleton is the crater just above the JAXA/NHK writing. Malapert Peak is the longer mountain on the horizon just below the Earth. The Peak of Sunlight is the shorter ridge just below Malapert Peak. The large irregular crater on the far left is de Gerlache. A map of this area is at and a radar image is here: This older LPOD image will help you orient the view from the Kaguya video.

    Malapert Peak is not an IAU approved name but has been used for at least 60 years and probably much longer, and the Peak of Sunlight is a recent name of convenience (I used capital letters for it) for a mountain that is now important to mission planners because it receives almost continuous sunlight.


    Comment by chuckwood — November 14, 2007 @ 9:04 am

  4. Aaaaah, Chuck, thank you very, very much! Glory allelujah, now I know, where I am! :)
    Hm, can u help me with this one too? The second movie, Earth-rise starts with big crater on the righth, that looks like Clavius (is not) with smaller craters in arch in the middle. Who is he? Andwhat about big crater with big central mountain just near the end of this Eart-rise movie? Thankeful even more!

    Comment by SandiBandi — November 14, 2007 @ 10:22 am

  5. Stunning image.

    Just ten years ago, who would have thought that the first HD images from the moon would have been from anything other than a US spacecraft. How times change!


    Comment by Paul Adams — November 14, 2007 @ 12:00 pm

  6. Paul -
    I don’t know if we would have hope 10 years ago that it would be from an American spacecraft or any other. The Moon wasn’t on the horizon of many governments then.

    Comment by chuckwood — November 14, 2007 @ 12:06 pm

  7. Chuck, you are absolutely right. I keep going back to the image, it’s one of those rare ’stop you in your tracks’ pictures.


    Comment by Paul Adams — November 14, 2007 @ 12:23 pm

  8. Sandi -

    I have been unable to view the movies, but in the still frame from the Earth-rise movie (Figure 1 at the site Chuck refers to), the prominent crater with the central peak is Plaskett (109 km diam). The large enclosure to its upper right is 177-km Rozhdestvenskiy, with 42-km Rozhdestvenskiy K straddling its right-hand rim. In the foreground, the crater partially visible in the lower left corner is Milankovic (101 km). To its right, along the centerline and immediately to the left of the JAXA/NHK logo is 46-km Milankovic E. The smaller craters do not have IAU-approved names.

    You can easily create for yourself an IAU-labeled view resembling the Kaguya photo using the free LTVT software available at:

    In this case, since we know from the JAXA press release that Kaguya was looking back (over the Moon’s north pole) from the farside, so you simply set the sub-observer longitude to 180 degrees (opposite the Earth) and the latitude to, say, +10 degrees (to tip the pole a bit towards the viewer). Then you zoom in on the north pole. It will look most like the Kaguya view if you paint the image using the Clementine mosaic for the texture. You should be able to easily identify the features in a Kaguya movie by asking LTVT to create aerial views at successive points along the flight path (right-click at each next position and ask for “Go To .. Aerial View”).

    – Jim Mosher

    Comment by JimMosher — November 14, 2007 @ 1:28 pm

  9. Jim! Amazing help, tahnk you very much!

    Comment by SandiBandi — November 14, 2007 @ 3:31 pm

  10. God Bless Japan!! The videos are mesmerising—wierdly mysterious. My first impression was that this was a Photoshopped graphic. Thanks for the amazing link. NOW comes the BIG question for the experts—does the moon/earth horizon illusion occur when earth is on the lunar horizon? HUH? (The perigee moonrises last month displayed this phenomena grandly–the moon was HUGE.)Peace and prosperity to all true-blue lunatics everywhere!! Happy Turkey Day!!

    Comment by joe schomer — November 14, 2007 @ 4:40 pm

  11. Just one word: Wow!
    The videos are without sound, but was it just me or did anyone else hear “Also sprach Zarathustra” very clearly too? :-D

    Comment by 801 — November 14, 2007 @ 6:19 pm

  12. Changing resolutions or refresh rate may help at looking at the image.
    Not all monitors support that feature, though. Doesn’t solve labeling;though.
    A general solution would be for one of us to go over to WordPress
    developers, and ask if it would be possible to create an xhtml /javascript
    image configuarable plug-in that will allow a normal view, than an alternate
    view that pops open a new window that has things pointed out and
    labeled with a mouse over message such as can be seen in the calender
    when you roll over the days.

    Having LPOD in 2 windows would allow reading & viewing simultaneously.
    WordPress has some really amazing plug-ins. And such a specially made
    plug-in for LPOD may turn out to be popular with other blog sites. As it would
    be very useful indeed. Creating an xhtml/javascripted plug-in isn’t for the faint
    of heart. But if anybody can do it, the guys of WordPress could. Sort of creating
    tags that can easily be placed over or near a feature. And a line tool to emphisize
    particular features. I’m not familiar with Adobe, but I do know Corel has a web-cutter
    tools that does such a thing, but inefficently.

    I believe the movie requires the lastest browsers with a certain plug-in. And java enabled.
    I spent most of last night playing and replaying the movie. Man! was it great! No green flash
    was visible, at least at this level of resolution; at Earth-Set, which was a little disappointing.
    But everything else made up for it in spades. Zarathustra is a great composition too.

    Comment by Abadin — November 15, 2007 @ 12:02 am

  13. Well. I made this yesterday for a starter:

    Comment by SandiBandi — November 15, 2007 @ 1:45 am

  14. And Earth-rise:

    Comment by SandiBandi — November 15, 2007 @ 6:27 am

  15. the grants…

    LPOD lunar photo of the day » A VIEW OF OUR FUTURE…

    Trackback by the grants — March 7, 2013 @ 12:58 am

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