NASA LRO Image of the Moon: The Rays of Messier A

Status Report From: Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera
Posted: Friday, April 20, 2012

A mare surface peppered with hundreds of small craters. Image width is 620 m, NAC frame M159650657L [NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University].

If you have ever studied the Moon through a backyard telescope, you may have noticed the Messier impact feature in Mare Fecunditatis (Sea of Fertility) beginning around day 5 of the lunar cycle. The distinctive appearance of the ray structure is particularly eye-catching. The high-reflectance of the main ray pair contrasts nicely with the lower reflectance background of Mare Fecunditatis. What would these rays look like close up? The LROC Narrow Angle Camera allows us to "zoom in" and find out as the subject of today's Featured Image.

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