Limiting the concept of "lunar new year" to "Chinese New Year" (since there are many lunar and lunisolar calendars, the latter of which the traditional Chinese one is a widely used example), is this photo taken by the Chinese microsatellite Longjiang-2 on February 3, 2019 at 15:20 UTC—slightly less than 25 hours before the Chinese New Year began in Beijing in 2019—the first one ever taken of a virtually fully-lit lunar disk very close to the first day of Chinese New Year?

Since a modern Chinese New Year by definition falls on a new moon (as seen from Earth), the significance of a photo of the whole far side of the moon on a Chinese New Year would be that it's the first time we'd get to "see" a "full moon" on that day.

photo of fully-lit far side of the moon with Earth far away in the background

Note that images like this one from LRO that are mosaics comprised of thousands of photos taken over the course of years—some of which may have been taken on a Chinese New Year but presumably none of which capture anything close to the whole disk of the moon—don't quite fit the bill, beautiful and detailed as they may be:

far side of the moon, by NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter

I haven't found any mentions in the NASA Space Science Data Coordinated Archive's catalog of lunar images of spacecraft that imaged the moon's far side having done so near a Chinese New Year, though that archive isn't necessarily comprehensive.

  • $\begingroup$ You might want to ask on astronomy.stackexchange.com $\endgroup$
    – Antzi
    Mar 22, 2019 at 10:11
  • $\begingroup$ image reused here and here $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Nov 20, 2019 at 3:19

1 Answer 1


The mission of Apollo 14 (January 31, 1971 to February 9, 1971) was between Chinese new year and the first full Moon. (new moon: Jan 26, full moon: Feb 2)

Thus, any fully lit image of the Moon take during this mission would be closer in time to new year than would be possible to observer from the Earth.

Perhaps some better fits exist in the 70mm magazines, but image 9916 shows reasonably much of the Moon.

AP14 9916


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.