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Look at the picture of the stars taken by man on the moon

Look at the picture of the stars taken by man on the moon

The stars were not a priority of study for lunar missions, which is why there is little documentation and little interest, but they were also important for navigation during Earth/Moon flight and vice versa.

The photo you find at the end of the article was taken by astronaut Charlie Duke during the Apollo 16 mission. He took about twenty of them in total, an activity expected in the mission's flight plan. In order to capture the proper exposure, he had to lengthen the shutter speed and close the aperture, which is why the images appear blurry and of poor quality. The stars were not a priority of study for lunar missions, which is why there is little documentation and little interest, but they were also important for navigation during the journey between the Earth and the Moon and vice versa.

Why the lack of interest?

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Charlie Duke While working on the Moon during the Apollo 16 mission. Source: NASA

The mission specifications stipulated that in the event of serious malfunctions in the navigation systems, the astronauts could use some stars as a fixed reference for flight calculations. Periscopes/sextants were mounted on the drive units, which worked in much the same way as early devices used for terrestrial navigation. The first to use a sextant in the CSM was Jim Lovell, on the mission Apollo 8 (That mission that entered lunar orbit for the first time with a crew on board), after carefully performing its measurements and calculations manually, and comparing them with data received from the flight computer.

We devote an entire chapter to space exploration in our book Discovering a passion called astronomyYou can find it here

Results

Jim has proven, quite well, that it is possible to navigate “by sight” even on space flight. Below is a photo of the stars taken by Charlie Duke during the Apollo 16 mission:

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The picture is for job Taken by Charlie Duke. Credit: NASA