Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera

NAC Illumination South Pole


The Moon’s axis is tilted at only 1.54°, thus the Moon does not have seasons. As a result topographic lows near the poles remain in constant shadow while nearby peaks along crater rims remain illuminated for most of the year. Since LRO flies over each pole every two hours there is now a comprehensive record (thousands of images) of lighting conditions over a lunar year. The illumination maps illustrate what percent of a year each pixel is in sunlight year: north (left) pole and south (right) pole. Areas of permanent shadow appear black, some peaks are illuminated for more than 80% of the time.

Lat: -90°
Camera: NAC
Image Width: 45.0 km
Location in exhibit: Global Views
Image ID: NAC Illumination

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