As someone who lived through the Apollo Moon landing era at a very impressionable age (I was 11 in 1969), I still find hunting down and imaging the sites where men walked on the Moon a fascinating challenge. I often wonder, if the Apollo missions were to be repeated in the 21st century, what the modern imagers would be able to achieve when looking at a spacecraft? Webcam users have already taken impressive images of the International Space Station in orbit, maybe they could have captured the Command and Lunar Module docking in Earth orbit, too? Or maybe they could have imaged engine burns in lunar orbit or dust thrown up from the third stage rockets that were deliberately crash-landed on the Moon?
Although astronauts have not ventured beyond Earth orbit since 1972, you can still relive those extraordinarily exciting times by locating the landing sites using a relatively modest telescope. With a 25-cm reflector and a decent map, lunar features under 1 kilometer across can be glimpsed, especially when the lunar terminator is close to the region under scrutiny and the surface relief is accentuated by deep sunrise and sunset shadows.
Was this article helpful?