This may look like a picture of the Moon taken through a small backyard telescope, but it's anything but: it's a huge mosaic of 1300 images
from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, painstakingly stitched together to make a huge high-res map of the Moon. The bigger version
gives you a taste of what's in it (a labeled one
is available as well) but even that pales in comparison to the massive 24,000 x 24,000 pixel full size version
, weighing in at an astonishing 550 megabytes, in case you needed to wallpaper your living room. If you prefer to interact a bit, then there's a pan-and-scan version
where you can zoom in and have fun flying over the lunar surface.
It's more than just fun: one big reason LRO is doing this is to make high-res maps of the Moon for future exploration. It is one of my most fervent hopes that one day, maps like this will be used by people who are trying to find their way from their dome to their in-laws' for dinner.
And if you live on the Moon's far side, no worries: there's a map for that half
, too!Image credit: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State UniversityOriginal imageOriginal blog post