Earth and Sun from the Moon's South Pole

  • Released Saturday, October 16, 2021

An animated view of the Sun and the Earth as seen from the Moon's South Pole, narrated by the visualizer.

Music Provided by Universal Production Music: “Enduring Faith” – Frederik Wiedmann

This video can also be viewed on the NASA Goddard YouTube channel.

This visualization shows the unusual motions of the Earth and Sun as viewed from the South Pole of the Moon. The animation compresses three months (a little over three lunar days) into two minutes. The virtual camera is on the rim of Shackleton Crater, partially visible in the bottom right, and is aimed at the Earth. The mountain on the horizon, about 85 miles away, is unofficially known as Mons Malapert.

Here, the Sun glides around the horizon, never more than 1.5 degrees above or below it, while the Earth bobs up and down, never veering far from 0° longitude. The Earth appears to be upside-down and rotating backwards. The perpetually low Sun angle produces extremely long shadows that rotate across the rugged lunar terrain.

In the second month of the visualization, the Earth passes in front of the Sun, creating an eclipse. For observers on Earth, this is a lunar eclipse, in which the Moon passes through the shadow cast by the Earth. Viewed from the Moon, however, this is an eclipse of the Sun.


Please give credit for this item to:
NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio

Release date

This page was originally published on Saturday, October 16, 2021.
This page was last updated on Wednesday, November 15, 2023 at 12:17 AM EST.


This visualization is related to the following missions:


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