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.

2013 July 16
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download
 the highest resolution version available.

The Moon from Zond 8
Image Credit & Copyright: Galspace

Explanation: Which moon is this? Earth's. Our Moon's unfamiliar appearance is due partly to an unfamiliar viewing angle as captured by a little-known spacecraft -- the Soviet Union's Zond 8 that circled the Moon in October of 1970. Pictured above, the dark-centered circular feature that stands out near the top of the image is Mare Orientale, a massive impact basin formed by an ancient collision with an asteroid. Mare Orientale is surrounded by light colored and highly textured highlands. Across the image bottom lies the dark and expansive Oceanus Procellarum, the largest of the dark (but dry) maria that dominate the side of the Moon that always faces toward the Earth. Originally designed to carry humans, robotic Zond 8 came within 1000 km of the lunar surface, took about 100 detailed photographs on film, and returned them safely to Earth within a week.

Follow APOD on: Facebook (Daily) (Sky) (Spanish) or Google Plus (Daily) (River)
Tomorrow's picture: water for aliens

< | 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.