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Emily LakdawallaApril 15, 2008

At last: Some bits of Kaguya video online in reasonable detail

I have frequently bemoaned the stingy data release policy of JAXA and the Japan Broadcasting Corporation (NHK), who have chosen not to show off the full capability of the high-definition camera aboard the Kaguya lunar orbiter; they've been releasing only very low-resolution video to the Internet, and make the full-resolution video available only via DVD to educators who sign a restrictive release form. (I can send you that form if you send me an email.) At last, though, the restrictions appear to be loosening just a tiny bit; they have now released some video to the Web that, if it's not actually at HD resolution, it's at least at the resolution of standard-definition TV sets. The two videos are from the November Earthrise and Earthset releases. They're very beautiful, but short! I want more! The two 30-second videos were released in MPEG-2 format and are about 30-40 MB apiece; Doug Ellison was kind enough to convert them to Quicktime files for me, which are a much happier 2 MB apiece.

Earthrise over the Moon


Earthrise over the Moon
Kaguya captured the blue marble of Earth rising over the Moon's north pole on November 7, 2007. This image is a still from a high-definition movie shot with Kaguya's wide-angle HD camera. A reduced-resolution movie can be downloaded in Quicktime format (2 MB) or MPEG-2 format (32 MB).
To explain the resolution under discussion: the Kaguya HD camera is capable of recording video with a resolution of 1,920 by 1,080 pixels. The videos I am showing you today are at 720 by 400 pixels, about a third of the full resolution. Most of the videos released to date have been at a resolution of no more than 480 by 270, a quarter of the full resolution; and some are even lower, 240 by 135.

JAXA official Shin-ichi Sobue also pointed me to a new website hosted by NHK that seems to promise more video downloads in the future. It's all in Japanese though so I'm not sure what any of the text says.

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Emily Lakdawalla

Solar System Specialist for The Planetary Society
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