Saturday, July 24, 2010

The colorful Moon

Following up on Dr. Mark Robinson's LROC Featured Image, "Aristarchus - Up from the Depths," from July 20 presented the opportunity to add some color to create a value-added product. Above, at its heart, is a new three-dimensional glimpse north from high over the southern rim of the dazzling and brilliant Copernican-age crater Aristarchus, possible by superposition of LROC Narrow-Angle Camera (NAC) observation M122523410 onto a low-resolution digital elevation model of Aristarchus Plateau available through the Google Earth application. A touch of color has been added, previously available only to the most diligent operators of telescopes, Clementine data and, most recently, LRO's fast-developing Wide Angle Camera catalog. The ultimate potential of such recombinations boggle the mind.

From 2008, a 200 kilometer-wide (at bottom) SELENE-1 (Kaguya) HDTV view of Aristarchus Plateau, very close to it's true optical appearance from orbit. Subtleties of actual color variation are difficult to detect, though they are definitely present [JAXA/NHK/SELENE].

Aristarchus (July 25, 2008, 02:33UT) composed by "The Boys from Minsk," aka Astronominsk (Goryachko, Abgarian & Morozov), who were not the first to demonstrate the availability of color in lunar photography, even from 400,000 km away. This image of Aristarchus was featured by Charles Wood as Lunar Picture of the Day (LPOD), August 5, 2008. [Maksutov-Cassegrain Santel (D=230mm, F=3000mm), barlow 2x, CCD mono camera Unibrain-702 (1388x1040), Astronomik RGB TYP II filters. "Seeing" = 6/10, Trans 5/5].