Russell Croman Astrophotography  



The Colors of the Moon

About This Photograph

Is the moon really this colorful? In a way, yes. The lunar surface actually does have quite a bit of color, although in reality it is very subtle. In this photograph, the color saturation has been enhanced to bring out the differences in the colors of the various areas of the surface. The hues are correct, just much more vivid than we usually see them.

Aside from making an interesting aesthetic presentation, the colors also give clues as to the mineralogy of the moon's surface. Bluish areas are rich in titanium and iron, for example, while reddish areas contain little of these elements. Also, at the sites of many impact craters, we can see that the deeper material exposed (and in some cases scattered) by the impact is of a different composition than the material on the surface.


Technical Details

Optics:20" f/8 RCOS Ritchey-Chr├ętien Cassegrain
Camera:SBIG STL-11000M
Mount:Software Bisque Paramount ME
Filters:SBIG Standard RGB.
Dates/Times:18 April 2005
Location:Dimension Point Observatory, Mayhill, New Mexico
Exposure Details:LRGB = 2:4:2:4 milliseconds, two-frame mosaic


Publication Data for this Photograph

Date Publication Type
Image of the Day
Web Site
2008-05-00 American Scientist,
May-June 2008 issue