About Lunar Photo of The Day
The Moon is the brightest and most fascinating object in the night sky. With constantly changing solar illumination and more than 11,000 craters visible in a small telescope, the Moon offers endless diversion for all who look. And yet, many professional and amateur astronomers regard the Moon only as an unshielded light that washes out the faint diffuse glow from nebulae and galaxies.
Well, tough - the Moon exists. The Moon has faithfully circled the Earth for 4.5 billion years, and records the ancient history of this part of the solar system. The Moon was the destination for the most audacious journey in human history, and will be settled by Americans, Chinese, Japanese and other humans during this century. The Moon is the past and future for Earthlings, and we all need to learn more about it.
In December 2003, as members of the firstname.lastname@example.org complimented each other on the high quality images being produced, one active member, Anthony Ayiomamitis of Greece, stated that there were so many great images that there ought to be a Lunar Picture of the Day. This suggestion immediately attracted favorable response. Charles Wood, a former NASA scientist who had studied the Moon and writes a monthly lunar column for Sky & Telescope, proposed starting the LPOD as an adjunct to his NASA-funded web site www.observingthesky.org. Within days Wood and Ayiomamitis were designing the layout for LPOD, programming the web site, selecting images for the first week's features, and writing captions. And acquiring the www.lpod.org URL! LPOD starts Jan 1, 2004 - now we wait to see if the rest becomes history!
LPOD is based on the very successful Astronomy Picture of the Day, which contains a wonderful picture and brief caption each day with links for further information. APOD is viewed by millions of people around the world. It has sparked a wider interest in astronomy and the new understanding that comes with the beautiful images. APOD has spawned an Earth-POD and a somewhat different Mars-POD. All of these PODs provide an easy and quick way for astronomers - both amateur and professional - and the general public to stay in touch with emerging science and be awed by the beauty of the cosmos.
LPOD has a smaller canvas than the entire universe, but it concerns the most visible and most accessible part of the extra-terrestrial universe. Some might question if there is enough material, both visual and scientific, to support a daily LPOD. We believe the answer is a resounding YES! There are hundreds of thousands to millions of spacecraft images, from Ranger and Luna to Apollo, Clementine and Lunar Prospector. Earth-based observers have drawn many thousands of sketches and maps during the nearly 400 years following Galileo and Harriot. And since the advent of lunar photography in the 1850s, uncounted photos have been acquired. Also, there are books, scientists, astronauts, telescopes and spacecraft that have been critical to our learning about the Moon - they deserve LPODs too!
Rather than being a mere collection of lunar images, LPOD strives to be an educational resource. Every image is accompanied by a description that ideally refers to visible details to offer a bite-size morsel of understanding. But we don't forget the non-scientific impacts of the Moon on our lives. The Moon is beautiful, especially seen against a terrestrial landscape, and has inspired legions of poets, painters, lovers and science-fiction writers. All are grist for LPOD!
We hope you enjoy and contribute to LPOD!
UPDATE: Sept 1, 2004: This century humans will move off Earth, to the Moon and beyond. And while I hope that citizens of the USA will provide leadership in this historic migration, it will be people of all nations who make it happen. To encourage the millions of Spanish speaking people in North and South America, Spain and elsewhere to participate in the excitement of understanding the Moon we now introduce a Spanish language version of LPOD. LUFOD: Luna Foto del Dia will be a daily reminder to look up at the Moon, and dream big ideas. Pablo Lonnie Pacheco Railey has volunteered to translate LPODs, starting with the Jan 1, 2004 issue, into Spanish. I am happy to welcome him to the LPOD family!
Update : Oct 1, 2004 : A big impulse is starting since a new translation of LPOD is available. To bring all its wealth in french speaking countries and areas, (France, Belgium, Luxemburg, Africa, Quebec, Acadia...), the "Image Lunaire du Jour" (ILUJ) site is born ! Christian Legrand, co-author of the "Virtual Moon atlas" and of "Discover the Moon" has proposed to translate LPOD into french. ILUJ starts today with the Jan 1st 2004 LPOD page and will continue the LPOD series. We wish a long life to ILUJ under the Moonlight.
Now, who will translate LPOD into Chinese, Japanese, Hindi, Italian, ...
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