June 15, 2008

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More Sleep?

image by Paolo Lazzarotti, Massa, Italy

This is an odd landscape, lacking the features we know how to confidently interpret. Serenitatis is to the left and the Taurus-Littrow landing site of Apollo 17 is in the dark material at middle-lower-left. There are a couple of sharp simple craters, 18 km wide Gardner being the largest. Vitruvius is larger (30 km diameter) and old enough that mare lavas cover part of its ejecta. A few other lava-floored features - such as Littrow and Maraldi and the rings near them - are older impact craters whose rims have been eroded and broken. Other terrain is harder to understand. The area inside the triangle of Littrow, Maraldi and Vitruvius is made of irregular depressions and hills that aren't obvious pieces of craters. This area is at the edges of both Tranquillitatis and Serenitatis and must have once included rings and ejecta from those basins. But they are ancient basins with very little evidence of their structure, and this nameless region between southern Mare Serenitatis and Sinus Amoris is a confused mess. And it is similar in texture to nearby Palus Somni. Are these two pieces of land ancient ejecta from the Crisium Basin?

Chuck Wood

Technical Details
April 23, 2007, 20:20 UT. Gladius CF-315 Lazzarotti telescope (f/25) + Lumenera Infinity 2-1M camera, Edmund Optics R filter, 120 frames stacked out of 2000.

Related Links
Rükl plate 25
Paolo's website

Yesterday's LPOD: Headlights Turned Off

Tomorrow's LPOD: A Lunar Process


1. Paolo! You have captured the largest of the small craterlets on the floor of the Taurus-Littrow valley! (unofficially called the MOCR or Mission Operations Control Room). It's the craterlet east-southeast of Apollo 17's landing site near the Camelot craterlet, and northeast of the small hillock called Bear Mountain (which is some sort of "peninsula" at the northeastern part of the South Massif).
I think see some sort of triplet at the base of the Wessex Cleft between the North Massif and the Sculptured Hills. You might have captured something (or all three?) of the Henry /Shakespeare /Cochise triplet, and perhaps also Camelot?
Wonderful image!
I see lots of small details in the neighbourhood all around, and one could write a book of all those small formations!
-- Danny Caes.

2. Danny -- there's a very nice, low view of this area here --> a17.22465lbl.jpg ; giving some labels as to what one is looking at (inicluding crater Camelot, which is a new one on me). I also agree with you on this image - great shot Paolo
John -- www.moonposter.ie (currently down as changing to new host -- up in a few days)

3. John -- while we're at the Apollo 17 site..., there's an interesting orbital Hasselblad (a close-up of the Taurus-Littrow valley) included in the book The Moon by Patrick Moore and Charles A. Cross (Mitchell Beazley Publishers, 1981).
It (that close-up) is in the book's central section of the color plates; the 14th page of a series of 16; full of Apollo photography! It's a great book.
I have the German version of that book, and I guess all the pages (numbers) are the same as in the original version (96 pages).
-- Danny Caes.

4. Judging from Danny's comment and the Apollo Surface Journal image referred to by John, "Henry" seems to be an informal name for the 0.6 km diameter crater located 0.9 km northwest of Shakespeare and, with Cochise, forming a triplet of similarly sized craterlets (although it does not seem to be in Danny's list. Had the name "Henry" been recommended to, and approved by, the IAU it would presumably have been called "Henry-Apollo" to avoid confusion with the existing name Henry (which refers to a much larger crater elsewhere on the Moon); but it does not seem to have been recommended, since it doesn't appear on NASA's Site Traverses Chart for the Apollo 17 area.

Paolo's image is barely able to detect the 1.25 km crater that Danny refers to as "MOCR", and is just resolving as a crater the 1.65 km one in the channel to the east of South Massif (due south of Bear Mountain), and is showing as a similar-looking crater something 3.5 km to the northeast of this that is not a crater. Opinions may differ, but because of its difficulty reliably showing things in the 1.2-1.6 km range, it seems unlikely to me that it could be detecting 0.6-0.65 km craterlets such as "Henry", Shakespeare, Cochise and Camelot.

For those who may be interested in exploring the Apollo 17 Site and the wider area around it shown in today's LPOD, on the LTVT Wiki I have placed LTVT screenshots of the central portion of Paolo's image side-by-side with two Apollo Metric images taken at very similar sun angles, all three being shown with an identical scale and orientation. I have also provided the LTVT calibration data for these and a Consolidated Lunar Atlas image which should (hopefully) make it easy for anyone with a PC to further study the names and dimensions of the features visible in the wider LPOD view.
- JimMosher-lg.jpg JimMosher


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