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Virtual Moon Atlas
VMA History since 1994


February 1st 2008 The Virtual Moon Atlas is used  by the University College of London (UCL) for surveying pictures  results coming from the instrument D-CIXS aboard european SMART-1 probe ( http://www.sstd.rl.ac.uk/SMART-1/index.htm) and for planning those of the instrument C1XS aboard the mission Chandrayaan-1 ( http://www.sstd.rl.ac.uk/c1xs/).


September 25 2007 French Ministry of National Education registered  the Virtual Moon Atlas as "educational software" and propose it for download on its Web server SIALLE
July 27 2007 National Astronomical Observatory of Japan uses VMA its educational curses. (http://www.astro-hs.net/ )
June 10 2007 VMA Web site is visited for the 800 000 th times, and download pageis more than 430 000 connectings.
March 18 2007 VMA is presented to the "Combined Exhibit" of the 38 th "Lunar and Planetary Science Conference" with more than 1000 participants near Houston (Texas).
March 2007 Christian Legrand now writes two monthes the "Lunar Tourism" chronicle in french magazine "ESPACE MAGAZINE"


November 12, 2006 New 3.5 version will be presented by Christian Legrand and Patrick Chevalley during the "Rencontres du Ciel et de l'Espace" in La Cité des Sciences de la Villette" in Paris (France).
November 6, 2006

Version 3.5

New "Pro" version with :
- New buttons on the interface
- "DATLUN" (c) Database manager allowing the user to select on several criterias interesting formations.
- New picture library "Apollo Mapping Cameras" with about 700 images
- New pictures library "Best of Amateurs" with about 350 images
- New CD-Rom presentation

July-August 2006 The European Space Agency (ESA) uses VMA to illustrate its Web site about the impact of its lunar probe SMART 1 and recommands it. (See http://www.esa.int/esaSC/SEM3W8Z7QQE_index_1.html ).
July 2006 The french magazine "Espace Magazine" recommands download and use of Virtual Moon Atlas.
July 2006 The french magazine "Ciel & Espace" recommands download and use of Virtual Moon Atlas.
May 15th, 2006 VMA is presented in the professional Bulletin of the "Lunar and Planetary Institute"
March 13 - 17 2006 VMA is presented to the "Combined Exhibit" of the 37 th "Lunar and Planetary Science Conference" with more than 1000 participants near Houston (Texas).
March 2006 VMA is used by Sir Patrick Moore's team for preparing the famous BBC television program "The Sky at Night" dedicated to the Moon.
February 2006 The VMA Web site is visited for the 500 000 th times, and the downloads page has more than 300 000 connexions.


December 4th 2005 To improve US VMA users possibility to acquire the VMA CD-Rom, we have now put a PAYPAL payment possibility. We hope they will find more comfortable this situation rather than sending us US bank checks written in Euros.
December 4th 2005

Erika Rix from "Cloudy Nights Lunar Observing Forum" has realized a tutorial for VMA beginners. You can find it at the following address :


It's very useful to learn Basic VMA setup and we support Erika's initiative.
Also thanks to Allister St Claire for putting this very good job in the articles pages of Cloudy Nignts site.

October 25 2005

Version 3.0 with :

- New multi windows interface
- Color Moon Globe
- Scientific overlays coming from Clementine and Lunar Propector probes (altimetric, colormetric, gravity, and repartition of iron, hydrogen, potassium, thorium, neutrons...)
- use for big hardware configuration

- Texture " Aerograph Clementine Full globe high resolution"
-Texture " Photographic Clementine Full globe very high resolution (500 m)"
- New database "Indiced craters / Farside" (1667 entries).
- New pictures library of Nearside named formations from "Lunar Astronautical Charts" and "Lunar Map
- Extended new pictures library from "Consolidated Lunar Atlas" (More than 2300 images)
- New "Pro" version CD-Rom (Software + databases + textures + scientific overlays + "LOPAM", "Apollo", "Probes" and "LAC / LM" pictures libraries.

February 1st 2005 French astronomical "Astronomie magazine " includes a paper by Erwan Tanguy presenting VMA version 2.1 and indicates that "it's a well done free software, not to say remarkable".


October 31 2004 Version 2.1 with :
- Versions "Basic" et "Expert" with computerized mounts driving (Celestron "Nexstar", Meade "Autostar" and all mounts using ASCOM driver.
- Information page presenting lunar orbit and Moon globe features.
- New detailed database about Moon exploration historical sites (Voluntary or un voluntary impacts and probes or human missions soft landings.
April 7 2004 VMA Web site is visited for 220 000 times and the "Download" page has been accessed 150 000 times.
March 31 2004 Virtual Moon Atlas is presented in "L'Astronomie", Société Astronomique de France magazine.
March 1st 2004 "SKY and TELESCOPE" presents briefly, in its April 2004 issue VMA 2.0 upgrade.


August 31 2003

Version 2.0 with

- Introduction of "Moon complete globe" with Far Side
- Simulation of a spatial flight orbiting the Moon
- VMA is now separated in 3 modular versions
-- AVL "Light" : 2D software for les performances hardware
-- AVL "Basic" : Basic software presenting the "3D with librations" mode
-- AVL "Expert" : Advanced software presenting the "3D complete globe" mode
- New texture of complete globe realized with Clementine high resolution photos by professor Mark S. Robinson and his team of the "Northwestern University".
- New more than 600 Far Side craters and formations descriptions
- Database separated in three modules downloadable separately
-- "Nearside_Named" : "Named" craters and formations of the Near Side
-- "Nearside_Indiced" : "indiced / lettered" craters of the Near Side
-- "Farside_Named" : "Named" Craters and formations of the Far Side
- Database corrections for some bad entries
- New pictures library : "Moon Stars" 130 LOPAM pictures of the most famous lunar formations

August 15th 2003 VMA Web site is visited for 140 000 times and the "Download" page has been accessed 100 000 times.
May 15th 2003 Kitt Peak observatory uses now VMA for its public lectures involving the Moon.
May 10th 2003 "SKY and TELESCOPE" presents, in its June 2003 issue, a Gary Seronik article ("Three for the Moon" page 54) comparing two others lunar mapping softwares with VMA and which is also very positive for VMA.
April 15th 2003 "Astronomy magazine " presents, in its May 2003 issue, a Richard Bartlett's article comparing two others lunar mapping softwares with VMA and which is very positive for VMA.
March 2003

Version 1.6 - New more detailed 2D texture
- Lunar disk orientation and inversion now possible in 2D display to see the Moon as you can observe it in your refractor or Newtonian
- Phase improved appearence in 2D display
- Distance and size measure tool now available in 2D display
- New mapping texture. It's the best available from David Seals site. It shows you Moon details as in a 5 / 6 " instrument.
- New 3D texture display allowing quickier moves on the map.
- Improved labels display on maps
- Integrated notepad allowing to record your own notes on each formations.
- Eyepiece vision simulation with possibility to enter your own eyepieces parameters.
- Addition of about 120 pictures of some formations taken by other probes than Lunar Orbiter 4 and pictures of probes. Are included pictures from american Ranger, Lunar Orbiter 1,2,3,5, Surveyor and from soviet Luna and Lunakhod.
- Begining of Clementine pictures series. Formations pictures taken by american probe "Clementine". Presently, 140 pictures of nearside named formations "A" and"B".
- More than 5300 indiced craters ( Ex : Clavius D ) added - Creation of " Independant reviews " page.
- Creation of " Thanks " page.
- Creation of " VMA History " page (This one).
- Creation of " Authors and translators " page.
- Creation of VMA Users Forum .

February 2003 Comparative review by Chuck Taylor, from " Lunar observing Yahoo group " presenting pluses and minuses of the three principal lunar software on the market including VMA.
January 2003 VMA presentation at " Société astronomique de France ", Planetary Observations Commission. To be included in CISAF CD-Rom project directed by Serge Koutchmy research director at Astrophysical Institute of Paris.
January 2003

American magazine "SKY and TELESCOPE" briefly presents VMA in its article "Hot Products for 2003".



Décember 2002 VMA Review on Thierry Lombry site
November 2002 VMA presentation during " European Sky and Space Encounters 2002 " organized by french magazine "Ciel & Espace"
October 31th 2002

Version 1.5 with: - Oriented and/or inverted 3D map to match exactly what you can observe in your refractor or in your telescope
- Phase display even on 2D map
- Formations names on maps depending of zoom factor
- "Context" menu on mouse right click
- "Neighbor" function
- Size and distance between formations tool on 3D map
- Maps printing with captions setup
- Formation datas printing for selected formation
- Ephemerisis printing for selected period
- 2D full colors geological map
- Lunar related terms glossary
- Illustrated help including screens captures
- Geological period of formation birth (From Pre-Nectarian to Copernician)
- Pages of the excellent "Atlas of the lunar terminator" from John E. Westfall containing the formation
- "Lunar Orbiter Photographic Atlas of the Moon" pictures containing the formation with direct link to Lunar and Planetary Institute Web page
- high resolution pictures of about 350 formations in the 45° N to 45° S zone taken duringApollo 8, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16 et 17 missions from 1968 to1972
- Possible integration of your electronic own CCD or webcam pictures in your pictures library

November 2002

French magazine" CIEL & ESPACE "cotes VMA in a remarkable article about " Apollo 17 " mission.

October 2002 VMA review on Rod Mollise site ("SKYWATCH " founder).
September 28th 2002 New translations of VMA. Thanks to new voluntary free translators.
September 10th 2002 Article by Jacques Zufferey in the SAVAR bulletin (in French).
September 1st 2002 New translations of VMA. Thanks to voluntary free translators.
June 6th 2002 VMA version 1.0 on line
March to may 2002 Version 1.0 programmed by Patrick Chevalley
February 25th 2002 First contact of Christian Legrand with Patrick Chevalley. Virtual Moon Atlas (VMA) project presented.

1994 - 2001

1999 / 2001 APOLLO pictures library realized by Christian Legrand ( More than 2000 examined pictures and selection of the 400 "best of").
1995 / 1999 LOPAM pictures library realized by Christian Legrand ( More than 3000 extracted pictures from the 640 atlas frames and selection of the 1200 "best of").
1995 " DB-Lune " Christian Legrand's software released with Etienne Lecoq's pictures.
( Review in French in " Astronomie Québec " ).
1992 / 1995 First lunar formations database realized by Christian Legrand (More than 1000 informations research hours and 1200 formations typed).

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Depuis le 22-09-1999