Galileo Galilei’s observations – via telescope, natch – of changing shadows on the lunar surface, and his conclusion that this indicated mountains and valleys there, proved instrumental in over-turning the belief, of the medieval followers of Aristotle, in the perfection of the heavens. Scientists continue to look at the moon, and recent radar images show just how mountainous the lunar surface is – especially the south polar region. The following series of NASA animations are based on that radar imagery. First an animation of the view of a virtual landing on the rim of the Shackleton Crater.
This animation shows the libration of the moon as it orbits the Earth – as also observed by Galileo – and the area of the moon mapped by that radar imagery.
A short flyover of the moon’s south pole region ending in the vicinity of Shackleton Crater.
And, getting back to those changing shadows, a simulation of the amount of solar illumination in the south polar region of moon over a solar day.