Mare Orientale/The Moon’s Mare Orientale impact crater is 320 kilometres wide, one of the largest in the solar system. The outermost circle of the crater is the Montes Cordillera, the highest mountains on the Moon./Photograph. Lunar Orbiter 5, 18 August 1967./Credit: NASA LOIRP/Austin Epps/Michael Benson, Kinetikon Picture
Benson is a Fellow of the New York Institute of the Humanities, a recent Visiting Scholar at the Center for Bits and Atoms in the MIT Media Lab, and a Weizmann Institute of Science Advocate for Curiosity. His latest of seven books is Space Odyssey: Stanley Kubrick, Arthur C. Clarke, and the Making of a Masterpiece, published by Simon & Schuster in April 2018.
Antoniadi Crater near the lunar south pole/A distinctive far-side crater, 143-kilometre-wide Antoniadi has an uplifted central peak, visible to the left, and a well-preserved rim three kilometres high. Antoniadi lies within the Aitken Basin, the deepest basin on the Moon. As a result, the floor of the smaller crater, visible just below centre, has the lowest elevation on the Moon./Photograph. Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, 2 February 2014./Credit: NASA GSFC/Arizona State University/Michael Benson, Kinetikon Pictures.
Transit of Io/Jupiter’s innermost large moon, volcanic Io, is the small globe on the far right of this image. Io orbits 350,000 kilometres from the gas giant planet’s turbulent, banded clouds. Just a bit bigger than our Moon, Io takes only 42 hours to orbit Jupiter. South is up in this view./Mosaic composite photograph. Cassini, 1 January 2001./Credit: NASA/JPL/Michael Benson, Kinetikon Pictures.
Europa is the second closest large moon to Jupiter, and can be seen on the right hand side of this image. It is slightly smaller than Earth’s moon. To the left is Jupiter’s Great Red Spot, a vast storm system three times the size of Earth that has been raging for at least 348 years./Mosaic composite photograph. Voyager 1, 3 March 1979./Credit: NASA/JPL/Michael Benson, Kinetikon Pictures.
Night side of Saturn/South is up in this nocturnal view of Saturn. The planet’s night side is illuminated by sunlight reflected off its rings. Sunlight also filters through the innumerable chunks of ice and dust that make up the rings. The planet’s shadow cuts across the rings at top centre./Mosaic composite photograph. Cassini, 28 October 2006./Credit: NASA/JPL/Michael Benson, Kinetikon Pictures.
Eclipse of the Sun by Earth/The solar corona – the outer atmosphere that surrounds the Sun – and magnetic loops during an eclipse of the Sun by Earth. The graduated reduction in our view of the Sun is due to the increased density of Earth’s atmosphere from left to right, which blocks ultraviolet light./Ultraviolet exposure. Solar Dynamics Observatory, 2 April 2011./Credit: NASA SDO/NASA GSFC/Michael Benson, Kinetikon Pictures.