It is undoubtedly the highest resolution image ever made of a crater on the Moon , specifically Tycho (located in the southern part of the raised areas of the Moon and named in honor of the Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe ), from the Earth’s surface . The fantastic image has been achieved thanks to radar technology.
Using a new telescope system, the astronomers focused on the Tycho crater, one of the most outstanding features of our satellite. It is hard to believe that this image was captured hundreds of thousands of kilometers away.
The telescope used is the Green Bank Telescope (GBT) and the technology used, Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR). The world’s largest fully steerable radio telescope sends signals that bounce off the Moon’s surface and return to Earth when received, stored and analyzed into a complete image.
The image presents a 1.4 billion pixel view of Tycho Crater, covering an area of 200 by 175 kilometers and fits the full size of Tycho that spans 86 kilometers. The total resolution of the resulting image is 5 by 5 meters, the highest ever achieved for images of our Moon.
“Radar data like this has never been recorded at this distance or resolution before,” says Galen Watts, engineer with the National Science Foundation’s Green Bank Telescope (GBT). “This has been done before at distances of a few hundred kilometers, but not on the hundreds of thousands of kilometers scales of this project, and not at the high resolutions of a meter or so at these distances.”
Astronomers hope that this new technology will allow us to explore other parts of the solar system that we have never seen before, but from our own planet.