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Magnificent Desolation:
The Apollo 11 Moonwalk Pictures

Text, HTML and thumbnails by Joseph O'Dea.
Last revised 27 February 2012.
Copyright © 2012 by Joseph O'Dea and Eric Jones.   All rights reserved.
“Magnificent desolation” was how Buzz Aldrin described the
lunar landscape moments before he stepped onto the surface.


See the Apollo 11 Digital Picture Library for extensive picture descriptions and discussion, and for many other mission pictures.

  • Information
  • All 122 Hasselblad camera pictures taken by the astronauts during the moonwalk are presented here. (Camera: 70mm. Lens: 60mm.)
  • The thumbnail pictures below show images available for viewing at higher resolution. In most cases, two versions of the pictures are available, high and very high resolution.
  • Pictures are arranged in chronological order. The astronauts exchanged the camera a number of times.
  • Some images were underexposed so they are dark.
  • The rising sun shone from the east (azimuth 88 degrees), behind the lunar module, at an altitude of 15 degrees above the horizon.
  • Primary images scanned from the original film by NASA Johnson with some post-processing by Kipp Teague. Thumbnail pictures on this page by Joseph O'Dea.
  • Instructions
  • Links below each picture offer choices of image size to download.
  • Clicking on the thumbnail itself will load the smaller of the two available.
  • Move cursor onto pictures to display brief descriptions.
  • Move cursor onto links to display image sizes in pixels.



Photographs by Neil Armstrong


Panorama Station 1:   Armstrong stands close to the lunar module after taking his first step, faces southeast, then turns progressively to his right to complete a panorama.

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Aldrin descends to the surface. He deploys the solar wind experiment 5 metres north-northwest of the lunar module and poses by the flag which is 7 metres west-northwest of it.

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Photographs by Buzz Aldrin


Buzz plants his boot in the soil for the boot penetration (soil mechanics) task and records the result a few metres in front of the lunar module.

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Panorama Station 2:   Aldrin stands 7 metres in front (west-southwest) of the lunar module at the rim of the double crater. He faces west then turns progressively to his right to complete the "Plus-Z" panorama.

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Buzz photographs the ground under the southern (minus-Y) landing gear, the ascent and descent stages of the lunar module, and the west-facing plus-Z strut and footpad.

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Photographs by Neil Armstrong


Pictures of the bulk-sample area, plus-Y strut and footpad, with Buzz Aldrin beside it. He faces southwest to the camera in the final picture in this sequence.

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Photographs by Buzz Aldrin


Panorama Station 3:   Aldrin stands 10 metres north of the lunar module, faces southwest, then turns progressively to his right to perform this "Plus-Y" panorama. He inadvertently exposes a blurred frame of Armstrong's portable life support system at the beginning (but creates a good picture of the camera's reseau matrix), and captures a view of him leaving the final panorama frame at the end.

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Buzz inspects the lunar module to evaluate the effects of the landing. He studies the landing gear – struts, footpads and contact probes – and observes the effects of engine exhaust and footpad impacts on the lunar surface itself, while recording the details with his camera.

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There is uncertainty about which astronaut took the pictures of Earth above the lunar module. Neil may have borrowed the camera briefly from Buzz but neither one can confirm this. From Tranquillity Base while the astronauts walked on the moon, Earth was in Pisces, due west (azimuth 271 degrees), and at an altitude of almost 60 degrees above the horizon. The southwestern Pacific region faced the astronauts.

The four antennae visible in the two Earth pictures are also of interest: Above the thruster nozzles, the Steerable S-Band Antenna dish points home. The No. 1 VHF Antenna is left of that and, further left, the slender EVA Antenna sits atop the lunar module. The No. 2 S-Band In-Flight Antenna is the spiral on the back of the ascent stage, left of the thrusters, and is better appreciated in preceding image 5922.

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Photographs by Neil Armstrong


Neil stands 10 metres east-southeast behind the lunar module and records Buzz removing the seismometer experiment from the SEQ Bay (Scientific Equipment Bay). On top of the lunar module the Steerable S-band antenna, 2 VHF antennae, docking target, No. 2 S-Band In-Flight Antenna, and EVA antenna are visible.

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Panorama Station 4:   Neil stands facing west, 17 metres east-southeast of the lunar module, then turns progressively to his right to photograph a "Quad 2" panorama. The split rock in images 5931 & 5932 is a different one from that which appears in images from 5939 onwards in the experiments deployment site south of the lunar module.

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Buzz locates a deployment site for the laser reflector and passive seismometer then sets them up 14 and 19 metres respectively south of the lunar module.

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Panorama Station 5:   As time grows short, Armstrong runs 60 metres east of (behind) the lunar module to investigate Little West Crater (33 metres wide, 4 metres deep) and performs a partial panorama there. This is the furthest distance from the lunar module travelled by either astronaut while on the moon.

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Back at the lunar module near the end of the moonwalk, Neil photographs Buzz performing a core tube experiment. Afterwards, he exposes a couple of dark frames, along with four frames showing the pole of the solar wind experiment (the aluminium foil was retrieved after 77 minutes exposure).

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