Top positive review
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a unique and exemplary contribution
on March 11, 2011
the kaguya lunar atlas is a unique contribution to the lunar literature and an exemplary book of its kind.
this is not an "atlas" in the sense of general coverage, but a "gallery" or collection of unique portraits. the 100 detail photos are presented in a standard format as wide angle, low perspective views of a single feature or geographical complex, assembled from many separate lunar orbiter photos taken in high definition video. the strip banding and brightness variations familiar in previous lunar orbiter imagery are completely absent.
nearly all the photos show the features under the same oblique (40 to 60 degree altitude) illumination, coming from the right or upper right -- a consistent lighting that throws the similarities and differences among the features into strong relief. slope angles and coarse surface texture are easily legible. most of the big name craters are here, plus fascinating smaller landmarks such as the straight wall, alpine valley, hadley rille, cordillera mountains, etc. (only the largest craters, such as clavius or ptolemaeus, are omitted).
the introductory material treats the technical details of the kaguya mission, the satellite image capture and photo assembly, and some basics on the lunar orbit and changing lunar illumination that will interest visual observers and in particular sketchers. a thumbnail index gives technical specs for all the photos and lunar coordinates for each feature.
the format (9" x 11") is not standard picture book, but the printing and paper are highest quality, and all the images snap and crackle with minute detail.
a beautifully produced and intrinsically fascinating visual survey of the moon, and well worth the humble price. one of my top ten lunar books of all time.