March 14, 2004

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Happy Birthday, Einstein


Happy Birthday, Einstein!

If you think the Theory of Relativity is hard, try finding Einstein's crater! Although its diameter of 170 km makes it one of the largest craters on the lunar near side, Einstein's location at 88.5° W longitude means that its rarely visible. When the western libration is favorable at full Moon, start your search by finding the big ruined and flooded astrophysicists, I mean, craters Eddington, Struve and Russell on the western shore of Oceanus Procellarum. Now move southward to the fresher crater Krafft (51 km) and then turn limbward. This is where it gets hard. Einstein will be recognized, if visible, as a large rimmed crater with a large (51 km) crater (Einstein A) where a central peak would be expected. Move your mouse over the image for a finder chart made from LO IV medium resolution image 188. The high resolution image here suggests that the floor of Einstein may be covered by Orientale ejecta, and low spots at both the north and south ends contain younger smooth material. Many of the 10-30 km wide craters in this area are probably secondaries from the formation of the Orientale basin. The west side of the floor and nearby rim are cut by a strange curved rille. Lunar Orbiter III - at the end of its successful mission - crashed into the southwest edge of Einstein in 1967. This limb of the Moon seems to be the least well imaged from Earth - the only picture I can find of Einstein is the insert on Plate 7e of The Hatfield Photographic Lunar Atlas. Can someone acquire a modern high resolution image?

Technical Details:
Einstein the crater was born before 3.84 b.y. ago, but the genius was born significantly later, in 1879.

Related Links:
Albert Einstein - Image & Impact

Yesterday's LPOD: First Light on a Nearly Full Moon

Tomorrow's LPOD: Peaks of Plato

Author & Editor:
Charles A. Wood



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