January 22, 2009

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Fallen Bridge

image by Robert Dyrda, Inowrocław, Poland

We see that the bridge between the Promontoriums is ruined now, but several years ago, with smaller telescopes, the bridge was often seen. - Robert Dyrda.

O’Neill’s Bridge was a sensational discovery made in 1953 by the NY Herald Tribune science editor John J. O’Neill using his 4″ refractor. Observing western Mare Crisium O’Neill reported seeing, "a gigantic natural bridge having the amazing span of about 12 miles from pediment to pediment." (quoted in Wilkins’ 1954 book Our Moon). O’Neill observed his bridge at the thin neck along the western shore of Crisium just where where two promontories come almost together like a pincer. The rim of a large ruined crater to the left, a smaller bright crater, and two ridges in the mare (a flooded crater?) probably appeared as arcs of shadow and brightness, giving rise to the speculative interpretation of a bridge. O’Neill’s Bridge was popularized at a time when amateurs thought anything was possible, incuding UFOs. Percy Wilkins, who was then Director of the British Astronomical Association Lunar Section, in his 1954 book, Our Moon, confirmed the existence of the bridge and hinted that it could be artificial. This, and other embarassments, were too much for the other members of the BAA and Wilkins was ultimately forced to resign as Director.

Chuck Wood
(I found this image on the LPOD Photo Gallery.)

Technical Details
01/14/09 01:49:43. Meade LX200R 14" + DMK 31 mono + IR-pass, 500 frames from 1300 with Avistack.

Related Links
Rükl plate 26
This caption was used earlier.

Yesterday's LPOD: Zoroaster

Tomorrow's LPOD: Plus & Minus Views


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