Category: Moon

NASA’s Apollo 11 crew

Today marks the 45th anniversary of the launch of Apollo 11, our first manned spacecraft landing on the Moon. When most people think of that momentous event, they remember Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong taking those first steps down from the Eagle lander. But what about the third crew member, Michael Collins, who waited completely alone in orbit around the Moon, as Neil and Buzz scraped the lunar dust and reaped all the glory together? Universe Today’s Nancy Atkinson offered a beautiful take on Collins’ role, in this 365DaysOfAstronomy podcast five years ago, on the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission. Click the link below to listen!

Learning more about the Moon

One of my Moon images, taken last year for Global Astronomy Month and Lunar Week, is featured in a new Mother Nature Network article about lunar phases. The article takes a fun slideshow approach, using actual images from around the world. My image is #5, representing the “gibbous” phase.

In my image, below, we can see Mare Crisium and Mare Fecunditatis at the top, Mare Tranquillitatis (Apollo 11’s landing site) and Mare Serenitatis at center, Mare Imbrium as that largest dark region at bottom-left and Mare Cognitum and Mare Nubium at bottom-right. Imbrium is flanked by tiny round Crater Plato on the left and bright Crater Copernicus on the right. Crater Tycho is that rayed feature to the far-right of Nubium, and Mare Humorum is that distinctly round feature beneath Nubium. I like being able to recognize specific lunar features, especially the Apollo landing sites. It brings the Moon down to Earth, as a vital partner to our planet and as a distant world that we’ve actually visited and may someday inhabit.

Be sure to check-out the MNN lunar phases article and you might even try taking a few of your own pictures of the Moon in its various phases!

(Click here for a larger version of this image; click here to see some of my other Moon images; click here for a nifty Moon map featuring the more-romantic, English names for lunar features.)

Waxing Gibbous Moon, April 2012

Waxing Gibbous Moon, April 2012