Did you know China has a telescope on the Moon? The 15-centimeter telescope was delivered to the moon aboard the Chang’e 3 lunar lander which landed on the moon in December 2013. In the photo above, the small arrow points to the Chang’e 3 rover and the big arrow points to the Chang’e 3 lander and telescope base.
If you’ve looked through a telescope before, you know that because of the earth’s rotation, the stars do not stay fixed in the viewfinder for very long. Since the moon rotates 27 times more slowly than Earth, the scope is much easier to stay fixed on stars. The scope sees in ultraviolet light too, a big advantage for any telescope outside of the earth’s atmosphere. The telescope is remote controlled from Earth which scientists say is particularly challenging since the moon’s environment is full of lunar dust that can get inside the telescope and destroy its electronics. To protect the scope during particularly rough, dusty days, it is stowed away inside the Chang’e 3 lander module.
Below is an ultraviolet photo of the Pinwheel galaxy taken by China’s moon telescope.