Do you have any of those paper 3D viewers around? You know, with the red and blue lenses? If so, pop ’em on and check out the image above from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) showing the crater “Hell Q,” located on the Moon’s southern near side near the brightly-rayed Tycho. You might think a crater was just carved into your screen!
The 3.75-km-wide Hell Q is one of a cluster of 19 craters located around the main 32.5-km Hell crater. (And no, it wasn’t named after a realm of the afterworld but rather for Hungarian astronomer Maximillian Hell.)
The image was acquired on April 11, 2014. You can see a larger 3D view of the region around Hell Q below.
Pretty cool, right? Here are a couple more:
Arizona State University’s LROC site describes how these images are made:
Anaglyphs are created from two image pairs (stereo) of the same area taken from different angles. As the spacecraft orbit track nears a feature of interest, LRO is slewed (<30°) so that the NAC field-of-view is centered on the target. On the next orbit, as the same area comes into view LRO is slewed in the opposite direction to obtain a second view. These two image pairs are then processed into a 2-band image with the left eye image in the red channel and the right eye image in the green and blue channels (making cyan). The parallax between the two images provides the stereo effect – presto a 3D look at the lunar surface. (Read more in-depth detail here.)
One of seven instruments aboard NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, LROC is a system of three cameras that capture high resolution photos of the lunar surface. Visit the LROC page for more 3D anaglyphs.
Don’t have 3D glasses? You can send away for a free set here (just be sure to read the policy first.)
I always make sure to grab some 3D glasses when I visit Kennedy Space Center. They always have some to give out.
It’s astounding to me how mapping has become a key tool in our journeys forward as a human civilization on earth and beyond!
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