December 10 Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2022 December 10

America and the Sea of Serenity

Gene CernanApollo 17NASA; Anaglyph by Patrick Vantuyne

Explanation: Get out your red/blue glasses and check out this stereo view of another world. Fifty years ago the scene was recorded by Apollo 17 mission commander Eugene Cernan on December 11, 1972, one orbit before descending to land on the Moon. The stereo anaglyph was assembled from two photographs (AS17-147-22465, AS17-147-22466) captured from his vantage point on board the Lunar Module Challenger as he and Dr. Harrison Schmitt flew over Apollo 17’s landing site in the Taurus-Littrow Valley. The broad, sunlit face of the mountain dubbed South Massif rises near the center of the frame, above the dark floor of Taurus-Littrow to its left. Piloted by Ron Evans, the Command Module America is visible in orbit in the foreground against the South Massif’s peak. Beyond the mountains, toward the lunar limb, lies the Moon’s Mare Serenitatis.