Earth and the moon have shared an intimate bond for at least 4.5 billion years, making the two bodies one of the most successful power couples in our planet's history. You can see the moon with the naked eye on most nights as it slowly transforms from a slim crescent to a shimmering circle, depending on the current moon phase. But for the best view, we turn to spacecrafts, telescopes and satellites that have labored for decades to capture the visual wonder of our planet's companion.
Here are 15 of our all-time favorite images of the moon.
1. 'Earthrise' from the moon
A view of Earth from the moon as it rises above the moon's surface, taken by South Korea's Danuri spacecraft in Nov. 2022.
2. A crater in close-up
A close-up of the Tycho Crater, a large impact crater located on the south end of the moon. Captured with the Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia, this is one of the highest-resolution images of the lunar surface ever taken from Earth.
3. Tipsy planet mid-eclipse
The moon casts a shadow over Australia during a total solar eclipse, as the Earth rises over the moon's horizon. Days before Japan's Hakuto-R lunar lander crashed into the moon's surface on April 25, 2023, it snapped this gorgeous picture of our planet.
4. A waxing crescent
A new moon waxing to a slim crescent.
5. A super full moon
The full Super Flower Moon rises behind the antenna on top of One World Trade Center in New York City.
6. Above the glow
A photo of the full moon over the Earth's horizon, taken by an astronaut aboard the International Space Station (ISS).
7. Distant companion
An image of the full moon over the Earth's horizon along with the ISS Progress 75 (75P) resupply ship shortly after separating from the ISS.
8. Apollo 10 takes a souvenir
An image of the moon taken from the Apollo 10 spacecraft in 1969. This was NASA's second manned spaceflight to orbit the moon, in preparation for the first-ever manned lunar landing with the Apollo 11 mission two months later.
9. Mountains or mole-hills?
Mountains on the moon as seen by NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter in 2009. On the moon, mountains are created by asteroid impacts into the lunar surface.
10. The lunar north
A mosaic image of the North Polar region of the moon.
11. A stop on the road to Jupiter
A brilliant photo of the moon taken by the NASA Galileo spacecraft on its way to explore the Jupiter system in the mid-1990s.
12. Artemis waves home
The Earth rises behind the moon in this image captured by the Orion spacecraft on NASA's Artemis I mission in 2022.
13. A gem in space
This false-color mosaic was constructed from a series of 53 images from NASA's Galileo solid-state imaging system. Different colors represent different soil compositions on the lunar surface.
14. New moon, who dis?
The monthly occurrence of the new moon is follow by the slightest waxing crescent moon, barely seen in the right of this image.
15. Behind the moon
The back side of the moon taken by the Apollo 16 mission crew in 1972. Apollo 16 was the fifth and penultimate mission to land humans on the moon.
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