lunar image of the month

march: over the moon

The space probe Galileo was not primarily intended to visit the Moon, but distant Jupiter and its many satellites. However, just as its namesake, the 16-17th century scientist, is famed for his observations of both the movements of Jupiter's moons and the mountains of our own moon, so in 1990 and 1992 the spacecraft also looked at the Moon as its orbit swung it past.

This image is one of the many it took to calibrate its instruments, and mainly shows the familiar nearside seen from an unfamiliar viewpoint above the crater Posidonius on the edge of the Mare Serenitatis. The bright crater near the top of the picture is Goldschmidt, bisected by the superimposed line of zero longitude.

Image: Galileo Project, JPL, NASA.