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.

2012 February 17
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download
 the highest resolution version available.

At the West Wall of Aristarchus Crater
Credit: NASA / GSFC / Arizona State Univ. / Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter

Explanation: Aristarchus Plateau is anchored in the vast lava flows of the Moon's Oceanus Procellarum. At the plateau's southeastern edge lies the spectacular Aristarchus Crater, an impact crater 40 kilometers wide and 3 kilometers deep. Scan along this remarkable panorama and you will find yourself gazing directly at the crater's west wall for some 25 kilometers. Features along the terraced wall include dark impact melt and debris deposits, bright excavated material, and boulders over 100 meters wide. At a full resolution of 1.6 meters per pixel, the sharp mosaic was created from images recorded by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter's narrow angle camera in November of 2011. The orbiter's vantage point was 70 kilometers east of the crater's center and only 26 kilometers above the lunar surface.

Tomorrow's picture: on the road to carina

< | Archive | Index | Search | Calendar | RSS | Education | About APOD | Discuss | >

Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)
NASA Official: Phillip Newman Specific rights apply.
NASA Web Privacy Policy and Important Notices
A service of: ASD at NASA / GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.