June 16, 2018

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The Recovered Pole

Originally published March 11, 2009 LPOD-Mar11-09.jpg
top image by Wes Higgins, Oklahoma, & bottom one from Howard Eskildsen, Florida

The March 9 LPOD lamented the lack of good resolution images showing the North Pole. Within hours I had received four views from the files of accomplished amateurs, and these two, by Wes and Howard, had the best combination of lighting, libration and resolution to actually show the Pole. Wes' (top) image from 2005 has lighting from the south that is very similar to the classic Consolidated Lunar Atlas image, but better libration. Howard's view also has better libration and the Sun was lower in the sky and illuminating the area from the west-southwest. The bright ray crater near the center is Anaxagoras - ignore it. Look toward the right at the somewhat larger (but not as bright) 56 km wide fresh crater Scoresby at 78°N. Immediately polarward are the overlapping, flat-floored polar twins Challis and Main. Continuing north is another flat-floored crater Gioja (42 km wide and 83°N), and beyond that are the prizes not often seen, Byrd (94 km and 85°N) and Peary (70 km & 89°N). The actual North Pole is on the far wall of Peary, visible on both images and brightly illuminated on Wes'. These images don't stop there. Clearly seen to the left of the pole is Hermite (106 km), in shadow in the top image but fully illuminated in the bottom one. Are these the best earth-based images of the North Pole? To my knowledge, so far they are. And remarkably their resolution equals or exceeds that of the 42 year old CLA image made with a 61" telescope!

Chuck Wood

Technical Details
Top image: August 18, 2005. 18" reflector.
Bottom image: April 26, 2008, 09:07 UT. Meade 6" f/8 refractor + 2X Barlow + Orion StarShoot II.

Related Links
Rükl plate 3

Yesterday's LPOD: Little Blue Squares

Tomorrow's LPOD: Golden Beauty


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