The Face of the Moon

38. Kuiper, Gerard Peter, ed. (1905-1973).

Photographic Lunar Atlas. -- Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1960.

The last great photographic lunar atlas based on images recorded from earth was undertaken by Gerard Kuiper and a number of colleagues, most notably Ewen Whitaker, in 1955. The atlas utilized photographs from five observatory collections--Mount Wilson, Lick, Pic du Midi, McDonald, and Yerkes--supplemented as necessary by new ones. The complete atlas has 281 photographs, covering 44 fields under different angles of illumination. The photographs in the main body of the atlas are printed four to a sheet, and folded, so that they might be used at the telescope.

image - click to enlarge

The photograph exhibited was taken in 1956 with the 82-inch reflector at McDonald University in Texas. It shows sunset over the Sinus Iridum (Bay of Rainbows), in the Mare Imbrium (Sea of Rains). The Heraclides promontory that juts out at right center is the feature that Cassini saw as a moon maiden in 1679, and many subsequent observers have drawn the promontory with a face and flowing hair. The McDonald photograph however reveals the existence of a second moon maiden at lower left, as the east wall of the crater Maupertuis captures the last rays of the setting sun.

^ Back to Top