Video: NASA maps out moon phases for 2013

NASA has used data from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter to map out in amazing detail the geocentric phase, libration, position angle of the Moon's axis, and apparent diameter of the Moon throughout the year 2013.

"Thanks to Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, we now have excellent terrain maps of the Moon that can tell us the elevation at any point on the surface," said Ernie Wright, author of the new video from the Scientific Visualization Studio (SVS). 

"I use those maps to make the Moon sphere bumpy in all the right places. That allows the rendering software to realistically simulate all the shadows and the ragged terminator (the dividing line between day and night)."

The SVS uses the same software that Hollywood uses to create 3D animations and special effects. The software allows Wright to arrange virtual cameras, lights, and objects into a scene for rendering.

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