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Lunar/Planetary Observing


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Here you can record any Lunar or Planetary and notify members of anything of interest in this category for visual observers.

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Messier and Messier A are a pair of relatively young impact craters in the Sea of Fecundity. The floors of the craters have a higher albedo in comparison to the surrounding mare area.




Messier A is an oblong shaped, roughly eleven kilometre wide crater, with distinctive ejecta rays. Over a period of decades there has been considerable debate on how these craters were formed. It is most likely that an incoming object with a shallow trajectory skipped as it impacted creating both craters and the corresponding ejecta.




On Thursday the fifth of May at 21:00 BST the Moon will be 21.5% illuminated with an altitude of 38°. I would recommend a magnification of at least 70x to see the ejecta rays.


Images by courtesy of SkySafari Pro

Edited by Nightspore
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Rima Ariadaeus is a 300 kilometre long rille situated to the west of the Sea of Tranquility. It is named after the nearby closely connected pair of craters ‘Ariadaeus’ and ‘Ariadaeus A’ .




The rima was possibly formed when a section of the lunar crust sank between parallel fault lines. The fault is considerably younger than many of the nearby craters.




The Moon will be 38.8% illuminated and at an altitude of 46° at approximately 21:30 BST 7/5/22. 


Above screenshots by courtesy of SkySafari Pro.




By NASA (image by Apollo 10) - Apollo 10 Photography Index: image AS10-31-4646.

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Cloudy here tonight so I won’t be able to see it. Keep the features coming though as the Dob is standing by for some visual.

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12 minutes ago, TerryMcK said:

Cloudy here tonight so I won’t be able to see it. Keep the features coming though as the Dob is standing by for some visual.


I thought I might get out tonight but sadly way too much sky porridge here too. First Quarter on Monday though. Which is always an interesting phase. Sunday might be in with a chance.




So hopefully then. I seriously want to test my new slo mo knobs with the 127mm Mak! lol

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Mons Bradley is a mountain range or massif in the Montes Apenninus. The massif is seventy six kilometres across and over four kilometres high. It was named after the third Astronomer Royal, James Bradley FRS (1692-1762). Bradley is famous for the discovery of the aberration of light and the nutation of the Earth’s axis.




The range is slightly to the west of the twenty one kilometre wide Conon impact crater. If the terminator is well placed, quite satisfying views of the high albedo mountain walls can be obtained. I’d recommend a minimum of around 125x to view the mons well. 



At 21:30 BST on Sunday 8/5/22 the Moon will be 30.3 arcminutes in diameter, 48.4% illuminated and 49°, 40’ altitude.

Screenshots by courtesy of SkySafari Pro

Edited by Nightspore
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The Sinus Aestuum is a relatively featureless bay of basaltic lava. It has some wrinkle ridges around its periphery. To the north is the fifty nine kilometre Eratosthenes deep impact crater. 




Sinus Aestuum is also just to the northwest of an area that is possibly Gruithuisen’s perceived lunar city. 




Franz von Paula Gruithuisen (1774–1852) was a Bavarian astronomer who claimed to see a metropolis built on the Moon. He named this city 'Wallwerk'. Apparently, not everyone was convinced. 




The near three kilometre Ukert crater is also near the same vicinity.




I'm not sure if this was where Gruithuisen saw the apparent grid pattern of a city. The heavily eroded Pallas crater can be seen to the left.




Rupes Recta is probably the most famous escarpment on the lunar surface.




Often referred to as the ‘straight wall’ it is situated in the Mare Nubium. It is a hundred and sixteen kilometres across.




At 22:00 9/5/22 the Moon (in Leo) will be 47°, 39’ in altitude and 58.6% illuminated.


Images by courtesy of SkySafari Pro and Wikipedia

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The Mare Imbrium or Sea of Rains is a lava plain in the Imbrium Basin. The basin itself was almost certainly formed by a monumental collision during the Late Heavy Bombardment era. The lava-filled, one hundred kilometre crater ‘Plato’ is located in the north.




There are several interesting objects in this area including the Montes Teneriffe and Montes Recti ranges. One of my favourites is the solitary Mons Pico mountain.



Mons Pico, Arizona State University, Apollo Browse Gallery (NASA)


It is about twenty five kilometres long. The peak is nearly two and a half kilometres high. Mons Pico can often be very striking when caught by sunlight. Copernicus is a ninety three kilometre wide impact crater visible with most binoculars. When it is near the terminator it can show a lot of internal detail. The central peaks are over a kilometre high and the spectacularly terraced crater walls are easily viewed. 




Clavius is the second largest crater on the visible lunar surface. It is highly detailed and features a convex floor plain. There is a recognisable arcing chain of craters in the floor of Clavius known as D, C, N, J and JA. The crater chain was probably formed by an exploding object after Clavius itself was formed.




The Moon (in Leo) will be 68.3% illuminated and 48°, 11’ altitude at 21:30 BST on 10/5/22.


Screenshots by courtesy of SkySafari Pro

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The Promontorium Heraclides is a mountainous cape in the Mare Imbrium. It is famous for resembling a woman with streaming hair looking across the Bay of Rainbows. The terminator has to be a certain distance from the Mare Imbrium to produce this effect. It’s possible Giovanni Cassini gave it the name ‘Moon Maiden’.




The Moon (in Virgo) will be 77.8% illuminated and 42°, 51’ altitude at 22:00 BST on 11/5/22. 


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The Montes Harbinger are a ninety three kilometre group of mountains to the west of the Imbrium basin. The feature consists of four large mountains surrounded by several smaller ones. They are named after the fact that they herald the dawn over the nearby Aristarchus crater. 



Oblique view of Montes Harbinger, on the moon, facing west. James Stuby based on NASA image (Apollo 15)


The twenty nine kilometre Kepler impact crater is surrounded by a very noticeable ejecta ray system. Its interior walls are terraced and it has an uneven crater floor. 




The large Gassendi crater, situated to the north of the Mare Humorum, has a seventy kilometre fissure (rima) inside its nearly two kilometre high walls. Gassendi has a smaller crater (Gassendi A) in its perimeter giving it the moniker of the ‘Diamond Ring’. 




Schiller is an elongated crater situated in the south west area of the Moon. It is one hundred and seventy kilometres long by seventy one kilometres wide. It was probably formed by the fusion of two separate craters. The wall terraces and ramparts are very well defined. The crater floor appears to be a flat lava flow.




The Moon (in Virgo) will be 93% illuminated and 28°, 55’ altitude at 22:00 BST on 13/5/22. 


Screenshots by courtesy of SkySafari 6 Pro


Edited by Nightspore
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I was surprised to eventually get a good 257x considering the Moon wasn't particularly high. The seeing was very good, although there were occasional transparency issues. I thought Reiner Gamma was well defined. Schroter's Valley was my prime target. Schickard was good as well. 

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