The Eclipse You Didn’t See

This week’s lunar eclipse was seen by by thousands of people, but simultaneously there was an eclipse that was much harder to see.  Had we been standing on the surface of the Moon, we would have seen the Sun silently glide behind the black Earth, leaving only a broken, fiery ring – all the sunrises and sunsets happening around the world.  APOD released a rare “movie” of such an eclipse taken by Surveyor III, a small craft that landed on the Moon in 1967 in preparation for the Apollo missions.  The APOD/R.D.Sampson version had a few flaws I knew I could fix, or at least lessen:  vertical striping (probably photos taken of a tv screen), and low contrast (perhaps because increasing the contrast would have brightened the stripes).  What you see here is my version.

Solar Eclipse From the Moon.  Credit:   NASA, Surveyor 3; Acknowledgement: R. D. Sampson (ECSU)

Solar Eclipse From the Moon. Credit: NASA, Surveyor 3; Acknowledgement: R. D. Sampson (ECSU)

Flaws remain.  There’s only 4 frames in low-resolution black and white.  This color (or colorized?) image hints that different versions of this data exist or existed.  The Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project (LOIRP) has been rescuing data from original tapes, leading to dramatic improvements in image quality.  But Surveyor III was a lander and LOIRP is focused on orbiters?  I can only hope that someone will improve upon my version using a better data source.

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