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Lunar South Pole Time Lapse (2010-2011) [720p]

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Uploaded on Mar 16, 2011

See Lunar North Pole Time Lapse: http://youtube.com/watch?v=45lfRi7wtDA

The spin axis of the Moon is tilted by only 1.5° (compared with the Earth's 23.5°), leaving some areas near the poles in permanent shadow, while other nearby regions remain sunlit for the majority of the year. Theory, radar data, neutron measurements, and Lunar CRater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) observations suggest that volatiles may be present in cold traps in permanently shadowed regions. Thus, areas of near permanent illumination are prime locations for future lunar outposts due to their benign thermal conditions and near constant accessibility to solar power.

One of the primary scientific objectives of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) is to unambiguously identify regions of permanent shadow and near permanent illumination using its two imaging systems that provide medium and high-resolution views of the poles. Since the start of the nominal mission, LROC has acquired over 11,000 Wide Angle Camera (WAC) images of the polar regions. LRO's 50-km polar orbit enables images of each pole to be acquired every ~2 hours during normal spacecraft and instrument operations (average time between WAC observations is 2.3 hours including spacecraft and instrument disturbances). The WAC 90° field of view (monochrome mode) allows for a 104-km region within 2° degrees of the pole to be acquired at a resolution of 100 m/pixel. This repeat coverage enables the creation of illumination movies that can be used to delimit permanently shadowed regions and permanently (or near permanently) illuminated regions and allows us to visualize the way lighting conditions at each pole change over a calendar year.

When LRO passes over each pole, the WAC images from 80° to 90° on the dayside and back to 80° on the night side. We compiled these images into a year-long illumination movie (2/16/2010 to 2/16/2011), with time steps between frames typically ranging from 2-4 hours. These images were map projected on the LOLA shape model produced in December 2010 with LOLA derived crossover corrected ephemeris (when available) and an improved camera-pointing model to provide accurate positioning of each WAC image. As the Moon rotates, LRO's orbital inclination changes slightly which causes the WAC frames to wander across the poles over time.

credit: NASA / ASU

source: http://wms.lroc.asu.edu/lroc/wac_movi...

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