Shadows at the Moon’s south pole

This amazing image from NASA is a result of combing 1,600 photographs of the lunar south pole taken by the wide angle camera (WAC) on the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) spacecraft.

Illuminated fraction of the moon at the south pole

Credit: NASA / GSFC / Arizona State Univ. / Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter

Described as a multi-temporal illumination map it illustrates the fraction of the surface illuminated by the sun.

The pole itself is located towards the left side of Shackleton crater – the feature centre image. You can see how the floor is forever in shadow and the rim in permanent sunlight. The APOD blog suggests craters such as this could contain reservoirs of water ice just below the surface.

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