June 24, 2010

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A Very Tormented Floor

left image by John Kazanas, Melbourne, Australia, middle by Wes Higgins, Tecumseh, Oklahoma, and right image by Clementine

The Virtual Moon Atlas aptly characterizes Hainzel as having a very tormented floor. The two excellent amateur images under opposite angles of illumination expose all parts of the complex floor, as does the higher light Clementine view. There are three overlapping craters. Perhaps because it is the largest of the three, the oldest and most destroyed crater was given the name Hainzel - another poor nomenclatural decision. Inside Hainzel are Hainzel C (the smaller crater to the south - left) and Hainzel A, the younger, terraced crater. Wes’ image (the middle one) clearly shows that the wall between C and A is partly missing, which makes the relation between those two craters somewhat confused. Seeing all three of these images suggests that A formed last and that it pushed a section of its rim through the wall of C, perhaps making the apparent central peak of C. Look closely at the terraces in A - on the north side they are extensive and come nearly to the central peak. The terraces get smaller as the southern gap in the rim is approached. This suggests that Hainzel A was formed by an oblique impact with the projectile coming from the north. The angle was not as low as at Messier, but was less than 45 degrees so that there was a significant lateral force that plowed A’s wall southward. When we finally get high resolution lunar topography we may find that Hainzel A tilts toward the south, helping explain the massive terraces on the north and the fact that the lava ponds are all on the south part of A’s floor. What do you think of this late night theory?

Chuck Wood
(I am traveling Wed and Thursday, so this is a classic LPOD from Oct 6, 2006.)

Technical Details
Center: July 29, 2005. 18″ Starmaster Newtonian Reflector + DMK-21F04 Firewire Camera.
Left: Oct 3, 2006. JMI NGT12.5″ f/5 with OMI Torus Optics + 5 x Powermate + Philips SPC900 webcam. 100 frames stacked and processed in Registax, LR Deconvolution in Astra Image and mild unsharp masking in Photoshop, noise reduced and resharpened in Noiseworks.

Related Links
Rükl plate 63
Wes’ website

Yesterday's LPOD: More Anomalies

Tomorrow's LPOD: A Sharper Image


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