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UV Photography of Earth and Moon

NSSDCA ID: 1971-063A-06

Mission Name: Apollo 15 Command and Service Module (CSM)
Principal Investigator:Dr. Tobias C. Owen


This experiment was designed to obtain ultraviolet photographs of the earth and moon for comparison with similar photographs of Mars and Venus. This comparison aided in the understanding of the atmospheres and surfaces of these planets. The instrumentation consisted of a Hasselblad electric camera mounted behind the UV-transmitting quartz right-hand window of the command module. For black and white photography, the camera was fitted with a 105-mm lens, two filters with pass bands centered at 0.340 and 0.375 micron, and a UV cutoff filter to obtain comparison photographs in visible light. For color photography, the camera was fitted with an 80-mm lens and the UV cutoff filter. Photographs were taken of both the earth and the moon from a variety of distances throughout the mission. Preliminary examination of the photographs indicated that the surface of the earth was still clearly visible in the UV band down to 0.340 micron and that no large scale changes in the detectability of aerosols occured between 0.375 and 0.340 micron. The overall value of the data, however, was questionable due to problems with the various filters. Thus the experiment was only marginally successful. This experiment was expanded on subsequent Apollo missions to include a wider waveband and more coverage of land massses on earth.

Alternate Names

  • Apollo15CSM/UVPhotographyofEarthandMoon
  • S177
  • UV Photography - Earth and Moon


  • Astronomy: Ultraviolet

Additional Information

Questions and comments about this experiment can be directed to: Dr. David R. Williams



NameRoleOriginal AffiliationE-mail
Mr. Sam N. Hardee, Jr.General ContactNASA Johnson Space Center
Dr. Tobias C. OwenPrincipal InvestigatorIllinois Institute of Technology
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