Book Review: The Cambridge Photographic Moon Atlas by Alan Chu, Wolfgang Paech and Mario Weigand

by DerdriuMarriner

The Cambridge Photographic Moon Atlas by Alan Chu, Wolfgang Paech, and Mario Weigand describes near-side craters, mountains, rilles, seas and valleys in Storm Dunlop's translation.

Craters, mountains, rilles, seas, valleys embellish lunar surfaces

The Cambridge Photographic Moon Atlas by Alan Chu, Wolfgang Paech, and Mario Weigand acts in Storm Dunlop's translation as photographic guide to photogenic formations amenable to binocular, digital, naked-eye, and telescopic viewing by amateurs, newbies, and professionals.

It brings moon-lovers state-of-the-art images and up-to-date information through:
• 180 illustrated pages;
• quick-facts page on lunar far-side formations (Apollo, Jules Verne, Leibniz, Mare Ingenii, Mare Moscoviense, Montes Leibniz, Poincaré, South Pole-Aitken Basin, Tsiokovskij, von Kärmän);
• sections on glossary, image credits, lunar features index; and
• supplementary reading and references.

The visual atlas considers the Moon as understandable through division into 69 regions, with:
• the lunar far-side claiming one region 40% hidden from Earth-bound viewers; and
• the lunar near-side constituting 68 regions.




Lunar Laser Ranging RetroReflector (LRRR) array placed and photographed on Moon by Apollo 15 spacecraft commander David "Dave" Randolph Scott on July 31, 1971, during Apollo 15 mission

NASA's ongoing Lunar Laser Ranging experiments measure distances between Earth and Moon via retroreflectors placed on Moon during Apollo program (11, 14, and 15).
NASA manned lunar mission Apollo 15; mission dates: July 26 - August 7, 1971
NASA manned lunar mission Apollo 15; mission dates: July 26 - August 7, 1971

Formations flaunt iron-rich basalt, magnetite-, olivine-, pyroxene-rich anorthosite


Scientists describe inner lunar structures through measurements from:

  • Lunar Laser Ranging; and
  • seismometers tracking carrier-rocket stage- or lunar probe-targeted crashes, meteorite impacts, Moonquakes, and seismic waves until 1977.

They expect a fluid core with:

  • depths 869.92 – 1079.95 miles (1400 – 1738 kilometers) below lunar surfaces;
  • diameter not quite 434.96 miles (700 kilometers);
  • materials of iron and sulphur;
  • size 25% the lunar radius, as opposed to Earth’s center 50% the terrestrial radius; and
  • temperature 2912°F (1600°C).

They find a solid mantle with:

  • lower and upper divisions at respective depths 347.97 and 43.49 miles (560 and 70 kilometers) down;
  • material of dense olivine- and pyroxene-rich basalt; and
  • transition to core at depths 683.51 - 869.92 miles (1100 – 1400 kilometers) down. 


observing the moon: lower of two green beams is from Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter's dedicated tracker; other laser originates from ground system at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Both beams are pointed at LRO orbiting Moon.

Lunar Ranging Facility, Geophysical and Astronomical Observatory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland
Lunar Ranging Facility, Geophysical and Astronomical Observatory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland

Images give proofs against, for lunar creation myths


Scientists give the lunar far-side a 62.14- to 86.99-mile (100- to 140-kilometer) thick crust. The near-side contrastingly has a 31.07- to 43.49-mile (50- to 70-kilometer) thick crust with:  

  • extent thrice that of Earth’s;
  • highlands 12.43 miles (20 kilometers) thick in megaregolith (cracked, fractured red bedrock);
  • materials of feldspar anorthosite; and
  • transition to mantle of KREEP (potassium [K], rare earth elements [REE], phosphorus [P]) material.

The lunar surface chemically is composed of:

  • aluminum, 7%;
  • calcium, 8%;
  • iron, 12%;
  • magnesium, 6%;
  • oxygen, 42%;
  • silicon, 21%; and
  • titanium, 3%.

Scientists judge lunar rocks, identically oxygen molecule isotope-ratioed with Earth’s, suggestive of a 15,534.28- to 18,641.14-mile (25,000- to 30,000-kilometer) diameter disk from 3106.86-mile (5000-kilometer) diameter Theia grazing Earth 4,500,000,000 years ago. 


Giant Impact Hypothesis, also known as Big Splash or The Theia Impact: Moon formed from debris from Mars-sized protoplanet -- named Theia for Greek Titan mother of moon goddess Selene by Alexander Halliday in 2000 -- obliquely grazing Earth 4.5 bya ~

Planetary Smash-Up This artist's concept shows Moon-sized celestial body slamming at great speed into a body the size of Mercury.

Lunar images have New to Full Moon view-times


So The Cambridge Photographic Moon Atlas keeps moon-viewers moon-loving through 180+ culturally enriching, educationally entertaining pages describing 422 lunar formations, providing 388 lunar images, and referencing 100 lunar features, thanks to:

  • Cambridge University Press and Oculum-Verlag GmbH, publishers;
  • Alan Chu, astro-photographer;
  • Mardiña Clark, resolution test chart specialist;
  • Storm Dunlop, astro-writer;
  • Everbest, printer;
  • Franz Hofmann, Lunar Laser Ranging specialist;
  • Wolfgang Paech, astro-publisher;
  • Martin Rietze;
  • Wolfgang Sorgenfrey, astro-photographer and high-resolution lunar photography pioneer;
  • Michael Theusner, astro-photographer and AviStack programmer; and
  • Mario Weigand, astronomer and astro-photographer.

It lavishes super-examples of lunar observational record-keeping strides achieved through digital cameras. It models the efficacy of:

  • the 10-inch Newtonian;
  • the 11- and 14-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain telescopes; and
  • the 6-inch refractor and 14-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope. 


The Cambridge Photographic Moon Atlas by Alan Chu, Wolfgang Paech, and Mario Weigand ~ translated by Storm Dunlop

388 high-resolution photographs ~ Using the latest methods in digital photography and image processing, The Cambridge Photographic Moon Atlas presents sixty-nine regions of the lunar landscape in large-format images with corresponding charts.
lunar landscapes



My special thanks to talented artists and photographers/concerned organizations who make their fine images available on the internet.


First image of the far side of the Moon: taken by Soviet spacecraft Luna 3, or E-2A No.1, at 03:30 UT on October 7, 1959, at distance of 63,500 km

first of 29 photographs taken, covering 70% of far side: North is up; dark spot (upper right) = Mare Moscoviense; dark area (lower left) = Mare Smythii.
NASA Image ID number: Luna3_1
NASA Image ID number: Luna3_1

Sources Consulted


Chu, Alan; Paech, Wolfgang, and Weigand, Mario. 2012. The Cambridge Photographic Moon Atlas. Translated from the German by Storm Dunlop and Published by Oculum-Verlag GmbH, Erlangen, in 2010. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press. 


Far Unseen Side of Moon: Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) Wide Angle Camera (WAC) mosaic of Lunar South Pole which encompasses Aitkin Basin, one of Solar System's largest known impact craters.

NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University
NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University
the end which is also the beginning
the end which is also the beginning

Orion 10015 StarBlast 4.5 Astro Reflector Telescope (Teal) ~ Available now via Amazon ~ This is one of the telescopes I happily use to scan the skies!

Great compact grab-and-go telescope for entry-level and intermediate astronomy enthusiasts *4.5 inch aperture + fast f/4 focal ratio for bright detailed views of solar system targets (Moon, planets) + wide-field celestial objects (nebulas, star clusters)

National Geographic Earth's Moon ~ poster ~ available via AllPosters

National Geographic Earth's Moon

Orion 09798 StarBlast 4.5 Equatorial Reflector Telescope, Metallic Green ~ Available now via Amazon

Fast f/4 optics and short focal length provide very wide field of view, making it easy to locate celestial objects without having to hunt around EQ-1 equatorial telescope mount makes tracking night-sky objects easy using included slow motion controls.

Me and my purrfectly purrfect Maine coon kittycat, Augusta "Gusty" Sunshine

Gusty and I thank you for reading this article and hope that our product selection interests you; Gusty Gus receives favorite treats from my commissions.
DerdriuMarriner, All Rights Reserved
DerdriuMarriner, All Rights Reserved
Updated: 01/03/2022, DerdriuMarriner
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DerdriuMarriner on 05/22/2015

happynutritionist, Watching that first moon landing via TV is one of those happy historic events which definitely warrants a great big plus mark in the lives of lucky viewers.
But me, too, I agree that the others need to be remembered as well.

happynutritionist on 05/21/2015

Excellent photos, with the passage of years, we forget some of the moon landings, we never forget the first, I remember where I was when watching it on TV, but the others become a blur and shouldn't be.

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