March 9, 2009

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The Missing North Pole

Consolidated Lunar Atlas image A11 from Lunar & Planetary Institute

No, the lunar north pole is presumably still there, right where it belongs, but I am having trouble finding an exceptional image of it for use in my June Sky & Telescope article. There are numerous great images of the mountainous south pole, but the opposite end of the Moon seems to be so unglamorous that few observers image it up close. So today's LPOD is the best Earth-based image that I can find that shows the north pole. I looked, but failed to find, a more modern - and higher quality, LPOD image of the pole. The need for great polar images intensifies because the LCROSS lunar impactor to be launched in May will hit a dark crater floor at one of the poles (which, depends on the launch date). Brian Day, the LCROSS Public Outreach officer, has started a discussion group that, with the help of several amateurs, is collecting polar images and analyzing the opportunities for amateurs to document the impact - it should be visible from the western USA and Hawaii - sorry Europe, Asia and eastern USA.

Chuck Wood

Technical Details
1966 Oct 28d 7h 52.4m UT. 61" Catalina telescope, Tucson, AZ.

Related Links
Rükl plate 4

Yesterday's LPOD: Siblings with Pimples

Tomorrow's LPOD: Little Blue Squares


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