facebook
twitter
rss
account
search
search
 

Orbiting observatory captures images of stars, lunar surface

Feb. 17, 2014 at 4:38 PM   |   Comments

MOFFAT FIELD, Calif., Feb. 17 (UPI) -- NASA says an orbiting lunar observation spacecraft successfully downlinked images of the moon and stars taken by onboard camera systems known as star trackers.

The main job of the trackers on the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) is to snap images of the surrounding star field so that the spacecraft can internally calculate its orientation in space, NASA said.

But earlier this month they also captures some dramatic views of lunar terrain, scientists said.

"Star tracker cameras are actually not very good at taking ordinary images," said Butler Hine, LADEE project manager at NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif. "But they can sometimes provide exciting glimpses of the lunar terrain."

A star tracker is different from ordinary cameras, using lenses with a wide-angle field of view in order to capture the night sky in a single frame.

On Feb. 8 while LADEE was carrying out atmospheric measurements the star trackers caught features in the northern western hemisphere of the moon.

The observatory successfully downlinked the images, the first time the LADEE team commanded the spacecraft to send such pictures back to Earth, NASA said.

© 2014 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
Most Popular
1
Social network Ello getting thousands of requests per hour Social network Ello getting thousands of requests per hour
2
NASA photos show Aral Sea is now just a sliver NASA photos show Aral Sea is now just a sliver
3
Apple releases fix for 'Shellshock' virus Apple releases fix for 'Shellshock' virus
4
Mount St. Helens shows signs of awakening Mount St. Helens shows signs of awakening
5
Dinosaurs of the land and sea likely faced off, predator versus predator Dinosaurs of the land and sea likely faced off, predator versus predator
Trending News
x
Feedback