Source: NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio
Published: January 2, 2020

This animation shows the geocentric phase, libration, position angle of the axis, and apparent diameter of the Moon throughout the year 2020, at hourly intervals.

Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) has been in orbit around the Moon since the summer of 2009. Its laser altimeter (LOLA) and camera (LROC) are recording the rugged, airless lunar terrain in exceptional detail, making it possible to visualize the Moon with unprecedented fidelity. This is especially evident in the long shadows cast near the terminator, or day-night line. The pummeled, craggy landscape thrown into high relief at the terminator would be impossible to recreate in the computer without global terrain maps like those from LRO.

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