August 20, 2007

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A Pleasant Observing Tour

image by Mick Hyde, Swindon, UK

I like this image because its so much like what I observe with a moderate power view of the Moon. There is the main object of interest - Aristarchus and its plateau - and then hundreds of kilometers of other things to notice. The image captures the feeling of the Moon’s curvature, with the mare bending away to Eddington near the limb. The darkness of the Aristarchus Plateau is due to its being coated with volcanic ash - pyroclastics - proabably erupted from the Cobra Head at the top of Schröter’s Valley. The Valley itself is an anomaly - it is thought to be just a giant sinuous rille, but tis so big that it may have transported and discharged a substantial amount of the lava in northern Oceanus Procellarum. Aristarchus and Herodotus next to it are good before and after examples of one way that impact craters get modified. Herodotus probably looked like Aristarchus - deep and terraced - before lavas filled it nearly to its rim crest. A more advanced stage of lava modification is visible at Prinz, the roughly same-sized, half crater to the east (right). It looks like Prinz and the hills associated with the Harbinger Mountains are a junior version of the Aristarchus Plateau. Perhaps uplift of the center of the Prinz Plateau tilted the crater Prinz so that later Procellarum lavas submerged its low side. The Prinz Rilles - just barely visible to the north of Prinz - are the equivalent of the Aristarchus Rilles and maybe Schröter’s Valley. And finally, if I were observing, I’d notice the rays. Those from Aristarchus always seem less bright from those from Copernicus or Tycho. And then there is the long bent ray, arcing across the top of the image - but that is another story.

Chuck Wood

Technical Details:
7th Aug 2007 using C9.25, 2.5x TV Powermate, DMK21AF04AS CCD camera, 7 image mosaic processed in Registax and Paintshop Pro. Seeing was average. 5:40 am, the Moon was in an early morning blue sky icon_smile.gif

Related Links:
Rükl plates 17-19
Mick’s website

Yesterday's LPOD: A Scarp and a Rille

Tomorrow's LPOD: Tributaries?


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