While we were on the Isle of Man (see previous post)we were looking round one of the second-hand bookshops in Peel when Karen spotted Zdenek Kopal's A New Photographic Atlas of the Moon. I bought it. I'm forever looking at the moon - and forever kicking myself for having to look up the names of its prominent features. The book immediately eclipsed all other holiday reading as I set about trying to set the record straight as best I could. It turned out to be a fantastic book. Published in 1971, it contains a brilliant selection of photographs taken on the Apollo missions and by the various landers and orbiters which had visited the moon by then. The far side of the moon is well covered, as well as the more familiar side (it is amazing to think that the Russian probe Luna 3 photographed the far side as early as 1959, two years before Gagarin orbitted the earth).
As well as the photos, the book contains extensive chapters on the origins and geography of the moon. It's extremely readable - Kopal must have been a great university lecturer (he was head of the astronomy department at Manchester) if this is anything to go by. Theories about the very initial formation of the moon seem to keep changing but otherwise I suspect a lot of what he says still applies. Kopal is very entertaining (well, I thought he was) when explaining how data which might seem obtuse to the layperson has been used by scientists to draw conclusions about the structure of the moon.
I took the photo above one sleepless night soon after, using a digital SLR with a telephoto lens. As for the settings, I just had it set on automatic. It insisted I needed to use the built-in flash, so I let it flash - only I put my hand over the lamp. Not very technical, I'm afraid.