Do Stars Look Different from the Moon?

Stars should be very clear and easy to see from the moon due to the fact that there is neither pollution nor much other interferences with the dark sky. The astronauts such as Neil Armstrong who did the Apollo 11 mission to the moon had photographs of themselves standing on the moon. However, there is much controversy over the fact that there are no stars twinkling from the sky that show in the picture. Some thought that the “man on the moon” was a hoax, this being one of the reasons. There are some explanations for this phenomenon. The pictures taken of Armstrong and the other astronauts standing on the moon have a good amount of light radiating from the Sun. Sunlight is also reflecting off the lunar surface. The pictures needed to be set to take pictures in a highly lit area in order for them to be clear and sharp. Therefore, one can argue that the dim light of the stars could not get through in the picture due to using a very high frame and small aperture setting. Moreover, if one were to go on the moon, his or her surroundings would be very clear to see because the moon has almost no atmosphere. The special ultra-violet camera that was used on Apollo 16 in 1972 was used by astronomers to take pictures from the surface of the moon. Some of these photos show Earth and stars from constellations of Capricornus and Aquarius in the background.

The first view of Earth taken by a spacecraft from the moon was in 1966. The picture was taken when the spacecraft was on its 16th orbit right when it was about to pass behind the moon. The United States Lunar Orbiter I transmitted the photo to Spain’s NASA tracking station. An image of this is below.



Furthermore, there is a photograph called “Earthrise” that is taken from the moon. This photo was taken during the famous Apollo 8 mission, the first human mission to the moon, by astronaut William Anders. The picture was taken on Christmas Eve of 1968. In actuality, the Earth does not truly rise when looking at it from the surface of the moon. Due to the fact that the moon is tidally locked to the Earth, Earth always hangs in the same spot in the sky. An orbiting spacecraft is needed to see Earth actually rise from the horizon.




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