Astronomy Picture of the Day

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

July 7, 1995
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Lunar Farside from Apollo 13
Picture Credit: NASA, Crew of Apollo 13

Explanation: In April of 1970, after an explosion damaged their spacecraft, the Apollo 13 astronauts were forced to abandon their plans to make the third manned lunar landing. Still, while coasting around the moon in their desperate attempt to return to earth they were able to photograph the moon's far side. The large, dark, smooth looking feature on the left in this picture is known as the "Mare Moscoviense". It was created by a lava flow filling in a large impact crater on the lunar surface. As suggested by the name, the Mare Moscoviense was first photographed by an early Soviet lunar probe.

For more information about the picture see the NASA photo caption.

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Astronomy Picture of the Day is brought to you by Robert Nemiroff and Jerry Bonnell . Original material on this page is copyrighted to Robert J. Nemiroff and Jerry T. Bonnell.