Planets and Moons  ID: 4944

Earth and Sun from the Moon's South Pole

This visualization shows the unusual motions of the Earth and Sun as viewed from the South Pole of the Moon. The animation compresses three months (a little over three lunar days) into two minutes. The virtual camera is on the rim of Shackleton Crater, partially visible in the bottom right, and is aimed at the Earth. The mountain on the horizon, about 85 miles away, is unofficially known as Mons Malapert.

Here, the Sun glides around the horizon, never more than 1.5 degrees above or below it, while the Earth bobs up and down, never veering far from 0° longitude. The Earth appears to be upside-down and rotating backwards. The perpetually low Sun angle produces extremely long shadows that rotate across the rugged lunar terrain.

In the second month of the visualization, the Earth passes in front of the Sun, creating an eclipse. For observers on Earth, this is a lunar eclipse, in which the Moon passes through the shadow cast by the Earth. Viewed from the Moon, however, this is an eclipse of the Sun.


Visualization Credits

Ernie Wright (USRA):
Lead Visualizer

Staci Tiedeken (ADNET Systems, Inc.):

David Ladd (Advocates in Manpower Management, Inc.):
Video Editor

Laurence Schuler (ADNET Systems, Inc.):
Technical Support

Ian Jones (ADNET Systems, Inc.):
Technical Support

Please give credit for this item to:
NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio

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LRO (Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter)

Data Used:
LRO/LOLA/Digital Elevation Map also referred to as: DEM
JPL DE421 also referred to as: DE421
Ephemeris - NASA/JPL
Note: While we identify the data sets used in these visualizations, we do not store any further details nor the data sets themselves on our site.

This item is part of this series:
The Moon

SVS >> Earth
SVS >> Moon
SVS >> Hyperwall
SVS >> Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter
SVS >> Moon >> South Pole
NASA Science >> Planets and Moons
SVS >> Permanently Shadowed Regions