Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2002 March 16
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download
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The Colorful Moon
Credit: Galileo Project, JPL, NASA

Explanation: Do you recognize the Earth's Moon when you see it? The crazy, patchwork appearance of the false-color image makes this almost full view of the Moon's familiar near side look very strange. The Sea of Tranquillity (Mare Tranquillitatis) is the bright blue area at right, the Ocean of Storms (Oceanus Procellarum) is the extensive blue and orange area on the left, and white lines radiate from the crater Tycho at bottom center. Recorded in 1992 by the Galileo spacecraft enroute to Jupiter, the picture is a mosaic of 15 images taken through three color filters. The image data were combined in an exaggerated color scheme to emphasize composition differences - blue hues reveal titanium rich areas while orange and purple colors show regions relatively poor in titanium and iron. Multicolor images exploring the Moon's global surface composition were made in 1994 by the Clementine spacecraft.

Tomorrow's picture: Stars of the Rose

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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
NASA Technical Rep.: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
A service of: LHEA at NASA/ GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.