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First Image of MESSENGER's Extended Mission!One year ago, MESSENGER became the first spacecraft ever to orbit Mercury. On March 18, 2012, MESSENGER completed its one-year primary mission and began a yearlong extended mission that includes a number of new scientific observation campaigns. The image shown here was acquired yesterday and is the first of MESSENGER's extended mission.Date acquired: March 18, 2012Image Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington
Eclipsed Moon and StarsCredit & Copyright: Jay OuelletExplanation: Half-shadowed by the Earth, the Moon takes on a remarkable appearance against a field of stars in this intriguing telephoto picture recorded during a partial phase of last week’s lunar eclipse. The picture is not a composite, but it has been digitally enhanced to bring out features covering a large range in brightness. On the Moon itself, surface details are visible in both the bright uneclipsed portion in direct sunlight, and the very much dimmer copper-colored, eclipsed region. Also much fainter than the Moon’s sunlit surface, the background star field, along with the unusual lighting, seems to contribute to an eerie “3D” perception of the lunar orb. Canadian astrophotographer Jay Ouellet took the picture from l’Observatoire de la Decouverte in Val Belair, a suburb of Quebec City, where about 200 skygazers gathered to enjoy the celestial exposition.
The Apollo 17 Saturn V illuminates the Florida sky as it streaks to the Moon, December 17, 1972.