Sunrise Over Antares

Low Sun seen in the east, from just beyond Apollo 14 LM shadow

Painting Completed 1984
24 x 35 inches, Acrylic on Canvas

I painted the view to the east past the Apollo 14 lunar module Antares shortly after Alan Shepard and Ed Mitchell began their trek toward Cone Crater. The Sun is just peeking over the top of their spaceship, making it difficult, even painful, to look that way. It's the same Sun we see here on Earth, but it appears much brighter because there is no atmosphere on the Moon to partially screen its brilliant rays. Cone Crater sits on top of the high ground that's in the distance beyond the flag, and Al and Ed are walking into the Sun as they move along. Even with their gold visors in place, the glare makes it difficult for them to navigate.

Al and Ed made their landing descent with the Sun at their backs; this was an important consideration in planning the time of landing, because it was necessary to land when the Sun was relatively low in the lunar sky, so that the long shadows would help Al and Ed spot craters and rocks to avoid. Without shadows as a visual aide, accurately judging height to make a safe touchdown would have been an even more difficult and dangerous task.

The sky is painted just the way it looks up there: black. Not a flat black, but a shiny, patent leather black. I could not see stars while walking on the Moon because the Sun made the surface so bright that the irises of my eyes closed way down. It's a little like walking out of a brightly lit room and looking up at a dark, clear night sky.