Earth's Moon - Luna 3

Close-up of the far side of the Moon from Luna 3

Earth's Moon
The Luna 3 spacecraft returned the first views ever of the far side of the Moon. The first image was taken at 03:30 UT on 7 October at a distance of 63,500 km after Luna 3 had passed the Moon and looked back at the sunlit far side. The last image was taken 40 minutes later from 66,700 km. A total of 29 photographs were taken, covering 70% of the far side. The photographs were very noisy and of low resolution, but many features could be recognized. This close up view taken with the narrow angle camera shows the far side has fewer maria (the dark areas) than the near side. The image is centered at 20 N, 95 E and the dark area to the left and just below center is Mare Marginus and below that Mare Smythii, just at the boundary between the near and far sides. The left half of the image shows the near side of the Moon, including the circular Mare Crisium at far left. The Moon is 3475 km in diameter and north is up. (Luna 3-27, Russian Space Agency, not necessarily in the public domain)
Larger image: 243K

High resolution tiff file ( 13M)

Location & Time Information
Date/Time (UT): 1959-10-07
Distance/Range (km): N/A
Central Latitude/Longitude (deg): 20., 95.
Orbit(s): Flyby

Imaging Information
Area or Feature Type: crater, maria
Instrument: Yenisey-2 Phototelevision System
Instrument Resolution (pixels): 1000 x 1000
Instrument Field of View (deg): N/A
Filter: N/A
Illumination Incidence Angle (deg): N/A
Phase Angle (deg): N/A
Instrument Look Direction: N/A
Surface Emission Angle (deg): N/A

Ordering Information
CD-ROM Volume: N/A
NASA Image ID number: Luna3_27
Other Image ID number:
NSSDC Data Set ID (Photo): 59-008A-01A
NSSDC Data Set ID (CD): N/A
Other ID: N/A


[NASA Logo] Authors/Curators:

Dave Williams,, (301) 286-1258
Code 690.1, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Greenbelt, MD 20771, USA

Jay Friedlander,, (301) 286-7172
Code 612.4, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Greenbelt, MD 20771, USA

NASA Official: Dr. David R. Williams,

Last updated: 31 March 2016