I was blown away yesterday when I discovered that China’s Chang’e 3 lunar mission has recently snapped this image of the Pinwheel Galaxy (M101) from the surface of the Moon.


The Pinwheel Galaxy (M101) imaged from the Moon by Chang’e-3. [credit: NAOC & International Lunar Observatory Association; University of Hawaii Hilo; Canada France Hawaii Telescope.]

Taken through the lander’s Lunar Ultraviolet Telescope (LUT) on December 2, it shows the mission is still active – details of the mission aren’t always forthcoming.

Whilst not the first time a galaxy has been imaged from Moon – Apollo 16 astronauts photographed the Large Magellanic Cloud in 1972 – it is the first time a fully fledged galaxy (as opposed to a dwarf galaxy) has been imaged in this way.