Viewing The Moon - Days 4 & 5

Viewing The Moon - Days 4 & 5

Alright! Enough trivia for no , let’s get down to days 4 and 5 of our Moon journey.

Casual observations and Trivia:

  • Goddess of the Moon. Did you know that Diana the Huntress was the Roman Goddess of the Moon, a buxom wench with a Bow, a Dog and a Horn.
  • Our Dark Side. The brain mechanics say that we are a little like the moon in so much as we all seem to have a side of ourselves, or (our dark side) that we keep hidden from our fellow man. Deep, eh!
  • Eclipse early in my child hood. My first real eclipse was as a small lad in around 1954/5 (about 9yrs old or so, I think). We lived on a Sheep Station of about 11,000 acres near a small town called Belatta in New South Wales. It was so intense it scared us. The country side went absolutely black. The chooks went to roost, the cattle and horses went to their favourite spot in the paddock and laid down. I thought my mum even looked a bit ‘peaky’, at the time. We had no way of knowing in those days as we only had a Dry Battery Radio, no telephone or anything like that to inform us. Oh well! Good memories I guess.
  • Quaint Illusion. Did you know that the dark patterns on the Moon that we know as ‘Maria’ were said to have the appearance of a Rabbit but we westerner’s prefer to think of it as ‘The man in the Moon’. Hence the man in the Moon stories we were told when we were kids. Others of course saw it as ‘cheese’ because of the holy appearance the craters gave it. I guess the man had to eat something, so where is the grass for the Bunny?
  • The indigenous folks of this great, fair land have a ‘Dreamtime’ story about why the moon was made. If anyone knows it, perhaps they could post it on our site. That would be great! I’ll see if I can find it, in the mean time.

Alright! Enough trivia for no , let’s get down to days 4 and 5 of our Moon journey.

The southern portion of the South Eastern quadrant is an area (the highlands) of utter devastation as far as the number of craters is concerned. So we’ll start with two (2) craters, both with central peaks, ‘Hommel’ a large one at 120km across and is overlayed on the edges by smaller impacts. The second is ‘Viacg’ at 89km across and is to the east of ‘Hommel’. It has a small impact crater on it’s, southern edge. ‘Fabricus’ and ‘Metius’ at 77km and 86km across are a nice pair in a scope with the ‘Rheita Valley’ east in the back ground. ‘Lockyer’ a sharp little crater at 34 km across has a small ‘Rille’ to it’s east. We travel on down the terminator to another big boy ‘Fracastorius’ at 120km across. The sun shines on the western rim of this crater and highlights a small impact crater sitting atop it on the southern end.

‘Mare Nectaris’ (The Sea of Nectar) the inner rim is around 390km and the outer rim is 860kms across. This Mare is jam-packed with interesting features. One can sit for hours at the eyepiece in this area. The crater ‘Fracastorius’ just mentioned, sits at the southern end with the riveting ‘Pyrenees Mtns’ of the north-eastern corner. These mountains are amazing and come in at 250km long and 3.5kms high. Wow! There are several other small impact craters, ghost craters and ridges to look at but little ‘Rosse’, at 11km is a nice challenge.

On day 5 we have the ‘Altia Range’ right on the terminator. This range at 480km and 3km is more than worth a good long study. Now, to the west of ‘Mare Nectaris’ is a large sharp crater with central mountains, the sides have become terraced down, with time. Subsidence, I guess. ‘Mare Tranquillitatis’ is separated from ‘Mare Mectaris’ by some undulating country. The beginning of which is marked by a little crater called ‘Madler’ at 27km across on the southern end. The craters ‘Capella’, ‘Cencorinus C’ and ‘Maskelyne A’ are off to the west. ‘Maskelyne’ is further down to the north and measures 24kms. ‘Mare Tranquillitatis’ is some 870kms long and has Faults, Ridges, Rilles and Ghost Craters to be viewed at length. The fault in this case is one called ‘Rupes Cauchy’ and is about 120km in length in the eastern section of the above Mare. There are three (3) features that share the name ‘Cauchy’. The other two (2) are ‘Rima Cauchy’ at 110km in length and a small crater ‘Cauchy’ at 12km in between the ‘Scarp’ and ‘Rille’. They are best viewed in scopes of larger aperture.

Down the terminator we go and west of ‘Macrobius’ we discussed on Day 3, we have the ‘Taurus Mtns’ measuring 173km long and 3km high with ‘Romer’ a small crater of 40km diameter. ‘Apollo 11’ landed in the south of ‘Mare Tranquillitatis’. I suppose that’s not far as the lunar crow flies from a crater called ‘Sabine’ at a respectable 32km and maybe better viewed on Day 6. ‘Mt Argaeus’ with a 50km base and 2.5km high walls marks the south eastern portion of ‘Mare Serenitatis’ which measures some 700km long. In this area we have a small crater chain, rilles and ridges and the landing site of ‘Apollo 17’. The remains at these sights are too small for us to view, sorry! However, ‘Serpentine Ridge’ can just be seen on the terminator but is probably better seen and explained on Day 6.

A little farther north we have crater ‘Chacornac’ 151km wide, right next door is ‘Posidonus’ which has a diameter of 101km and also has a nice central Rille. ‘Daniell’ is a 27km crater and marks the southern end of a small ‘Lava Sea’ known as ‘Mare Somniorum’. Craters,‘Grove’ at 27km and ‘Burg’ at 39km lead the way to two (2) craters that have been named after Greek Heroes. These craters are truly distinctive and have diameters of 78km and 69km respectively. ‘Atlas’ has a fairly rough bottom surface with nice crater walls and a ghostly looking crater to the immediate north, while ‘Hercules’ the second of the pair has a small crater visible in it’s floor, also some plateau like slippage on the northern end.

“Keldysh’ is some 33km diameter and marks the south-eastern end of ‘Mare Frigoris’, a very drawn out area that can be seen over several viewing days. ‘Gailtner’, ‘Memockitis’ and ‘Arnold’ with widths of 115km, 37km and 94km respectively. These are the last craters of note and bring to an end the trip down the terminator for days 4 & 5. The size of some of these craters make you wonder how large the projectiles were and what speed they were travelling at, eh!

There has been (from the very beginning in October of 1958) some seventy (70) both manned and unmanned missions to the moon. Some were unsuccessful but still count, I guess. They were split between USA and USSR mainly and the count went like this – USA 37, USSR 31 with one (1) each to Japan and China . Some are still current.

OK Folks! That’s it for now, so my many thanks to my usual helpers. - for their exceptional Moon Maps.

Steve Massey and Steve Quirk for ‘Atlas of the Southern Night Sky’ @

Steve Massey – ‘Exploring the Moon’ (Excellent book) 

Thanks again fellas!