Thu. Mar 23rd, 2023

Most people are familiar with the Apollo images of the moon, which show astronauts working and playing on the lunar surface. But those photos often don’t quite do justice to the moon’s stark beauty, and some of the most astonishing images of Earth’s companion don’t come from the surface, but from above. Perhaps no spacecraft captured this better than one launched by Japan nearly a decade ago.

As of October 2007, Japan’s Kaguya spacecraft spent the better part of two years in a polar lunar orbit, including transits of up to 100 km. As part of its payload, the spacecraft carried two 2.2 megapixel CCD HDTV color cameras, a telephoto lens and a wide-angle lens. These cameras returned the first high-definition video from the moon to Earth.

Japan’s space agency JAXA has previously released some of these photos into the public domain. But now the agency has released the full dataset, including more than 450 images, the Planetary Society reports. The newly available images include some with lens flare, adding a dynamic touch to the lunar surface.

So maybe you’ve never seen them before. Or maybe you’ve seen some of the more iconic Earth-rise images captured by Kaguya. Anyway, the moon is now on display in its greater glory, as we’ve rounded up some of the best images in the gallery above, along with some basic location information. The full catalog can be found here.

List image by JAXA/NHK

By akfire1

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