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An HD Lunar Surface Rendering Program by Jay Tanner

LUNEX (LUNar EXplorer) for POV-Ray is a special program script I wrote to create photo-realistic renderings of the moon using POV-Ray, a free, open source 3D ray tracing program.

For information on POV-Ray, visit the official web site at:

3D GRAPHICS rendering requires rather extensive resource overhead requiring a large amount of RAM and a fast CPU/GPU and high-end graphics card to get the best results.  Older systems may experience long rendering times, depending on your system architecture, chosen resolution and other program settings.  This type of 3D rendering requires much patience and a fast multi-core CPU is recommended.

Although it is not absolutely necessary, having at least a little prior programming experience will prove helpful if you want to understand or study how the program works internally.  It is extremely math intensive.

The LUNEX program serves as a virtual lunar telescope or virtual spacecraft allowing the rendering of the moon from nearly any perspective from Earth to space.  Images can be rendered in any resolution up to HD.

The LUNEX user can create customized lunar renderings from virtually any perspective and at any distance and phase angle, such as from Earth or from a location near or far out in space.

LUNEX is ideal for creating customized, royalty-free lunar images, charts and diagrams for informational or educational purposes.

The program does not render text labels.  Any text labels or captions can be applied to the image using any of several freely available image editing tools. The program does provide a pointer option for marking certain coordinates, as shown in the Tranquility Base rendering below.

LUNEX rendering showing the location of the first manned moon landing site at Tranquility Base.
Latitude: +0.67409 (N) and Longitude: +23.47298 (E).

Although the images may look like photographs, they are actually computer generated renderings made according to the user's choice of program settings.

Compare some actual NASA images with LUNEX simulations:
Lunar Gravity Map Rendered by LUNEX

Using PaintShop Pro or PhotoShop, you can also combine dual images from slightly different perspectives to create 3D red/blue anaglyphs, like this one. 

More information on LUNEX here:
LUNEX For POV-Ray - A Photo-Realistic Lunar Surface Ray Tracing Program For Use With POV-RAY 3D Rendering Software

Some of my renderings made with the LUNEX program are featured on the University of Hawaii website:  HERE
Other lunar renderings made by LUNEX for exploring the entire lunar surface in HD can be found HERE


LUNEX For POV-Ray can be downloaded here: - Approx.  489 megs - The large file size is mostly due to the large texture maps, while the program itself is rather small at about 26 kB

License: The LUNEX source code is released to the public domain.

lunex-for-pov-ray.txt · Last modified: 2022/10/03 19:47 by jaywiki

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