Mystery solved!

Major thanks to Francis Reddy–science writer on contract with the Astrophysics Science Division at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md–for solving the mystery of the Lunar Orbiter poster I purchased from the University of Maryland Observatory yard sale!  (The complete backstory of this poster is provided in the earlier post “We interrupt this poetry blog to bring you a mystery.”)

Here’s the information from Francis and a copy of the poster which he so kindly labelled:

“Here’s the solution to your Lunar Orbiter challenge. This is a Lunar Orbiter II medium-resolution image taken 44 km above Sinus Medii. The centerpoint of the image is not far from the Surveyor 4 & 6 landing sites (the region of both sites is included in the shot, which may explain why it was significant enough to someone to survive). I’ve attached a version with a few labels for features I could securely identify. More info:

Mission:               Lunar Orbiter 2

Spacecraft Position:

Altitude:              44.19 km

Latitude:              4.15°

Longitude:          -0.31°

Principal Point (seems to correspond to the center of the horizon for this oblique view):

Latitude:              0.21°

I’m including a Digital Lunar Orbiter Photographic Atlas of the Moon photo (Photo Number IV-097-M) for the view from 2700 km away. (Credit: NASA)

Longitude:          -1.10°


Sun Azimuth:     90.39°

Incident Angle:                 78.00°

Emission Angle:                72.31°

Phase Angle:      76.23°

Alpha:   -24.68°

Link to frame and higher-res images of the area:

USGS maps based on Lunar Orbiter imagery, with named features (Sinus Medii straddles the equator, hence two maps needed):

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