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Apollo Imagery
Solar corona
high res (3.4 M) low res (82 K)
AS15-98-13325 (31 July 1971) --- The solar corona, photographed from Apollo 15 about one minute after spacecraft sunset on July 31, 1971, extends to the right of the lunar horizon. The moon illuminated by Earth-shine -- sunlight reflected from Earth -- clearly shows a mare surface with mountainous highlands just beyond its horizon. The very bright object just above the horizon is the planet Venus at the end of a short light streak caused by film transport prior to shutter closure after the preceding exposure. The two bright stars beyond Venus are Pollux and Castor in the constellation Gemini. Venus is about eight degrees from the center of the sun and 3.5 degrees above the lunar surface. A faint solar coronal streamer can be seen to end near Venus. This light arises partly from electron scattering of sunlight - called the K-corona - and partly from sunlight reflected by countless, interplanetary dust grains called the F-corona near the sun and referred to as zodiacal light at solar elongations of several degrees or more in the plane of the planets. This solar corona exposure of approximately nine seconds duration was the last in a series of eight photographs. It is man's first and only record of this part of the sun's light above the Earth-lit moon. Three such photographic series were obtained by astronaut Alfred M. Worden, command module pilot, during the solo part of his orbital flight. Extensive photometric studies of these photographs may reveal new scientific information on the way in which energy flows outward from the sun and throughout our solar system. A 70mm Electric Hasselblad was used with an F-stop of 2.8, 80mm lens, and using Eastman Kodak Type 2485 film. While astronauts David R. Scott, commander, and James B. Irwin, lunar module pilot, descended in the Lunar Module (LM) "Falcon" to explore the Hadley-Apennine area of the moon, astronaut Worden remained with the Command and Service Modules (CSM) in lunar orbit.

Curator: JSC PAO Web Team | Responsible NASA Official: Amiko Kauderer | Updated: 11/01/2012
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