Adam Mann (@adamspacemann) at @wiredspacephoto and @wiredscience was nice enough to tweet a link to our Lunar Orbiter IV earthrise image to over a million followers as the WIred’s Space Photo of the day – thanks, Adam!
On the left is a newly-recovered and enhanced image of the Earth and Moon taken by Lunar Orbiter IV on 19 May 1967. On the right is how the image has looked in NASA’s records – until now. (Click on image to enlarge)
The other day, as we were going through tapes from Lunar Orbiter IV we came across a picture of the Earth and the Moon – one that was not instantly familiar to us. This image is not included in the LPI Lunar Orbiter IV image gallery but is listed in this document at LPI (click on text below to enlarge),
According to this entry at NSSDC: “Lunar Orbiter 4 photograph showing a crescent Earth and partly illuminated Moon. The lunar sunset terminator is at 140 E and runs through the large dark-floored crater Tsiolkovsky, about 240 km diameter towards the bottom of the Moon. The part of the Moon visible in this image is the western far side. North is at 1:00. The frame has been turned upside down to give the correct orientation. (Lunar Orbiter 4, frame M-123)”
Location & Time Information
Date/Time (UT): 1967-05-19 T 23:27:54
Distance/Range (km): 6151
Central Latitude/Longitude (deg): +1.13/168.38
This is what the public and researchers have seen for the past 47 years (click on image to enlarge). Note that the Earth is over exposed and there is the pronounced characteristic stripping (showing individual framelets) on the lunar surface.
So we downloaded the image and set our imagery genius Austin Epps to work on the image.
The image on the left is output of our usual assembly program (click on image to enlarge). The image on the right is the result after some additional filtering to suppress the overexposure issues that Lunar Orbiter IV was having (click on image to enlarge). There is still some striping as you can see – and addressing that in very high contrast images like this one takes some additional work.
In this image Earth’s limb and terminator have been sharpened and Rousseau markers (as well as other film/readout noise) have been removed from black areas of the image. Some additinal filtering was applied to the Moon for additional destriping. Click on the image for a larger view.
High resolution image (700 mb TIFF) at NASA SSERVI