The week of June 13-19 takes us from lunar Day 9 through Day 14, almost Full Moon. The first part of the week, before we get to Full Moon, will be the most rewarding time to view individual craters. This week we will highlight the Fra Mauro region.
Fra Mauro region: [SW/K8] Craters in the Fra Mauro region are critical to understanding an important process that shaped the Moon. For this reason, the Apollo 14 astronauts, Alan Shepard and Ed Mitchell, landed just 20 miles north of Fra Mauro. Look closely at Fra Mauro and the three craters to its south–Parry, Guericke, and Bonpland. Look for the telltale gaps and gouges that cut through their rims and point significantly back to Mare Imbrium, their place of origin.
This is classic Imbrium sculpturing and is a textbook example of how you can “read” the lunar surface. Can you see the north-south linear features on Fra Mauro, Bonpland, and Parry? There is one long rille that breaches the walls of all three craters. What does this tell you about the age of these craters as they relate to Mare Imbrium? In many craters such as Alphonsus (Day 7; L9), Pitatus (Day 8; M8), and Posidonius (Day 5; F12) the rilles are clearly contained within the outer protective rims of the mountains, suggesting that they are related to the formation of the crater itself.
OF ADDITIONAL INTEREST FROM LUNAR DAY 9 THROUGH DAY 14:
FYI: Much of the information in these blogs comes from my book, What’s Hot on the Moon Tonight? The Ultimate Guide to Lunar Observing, available on Amazon and from my website, AndrewPlanck.com. (If you would like a signed copy, please order from my website.)
On Saturday night the Moon, Saturn, Antares, and Mars form a right angle over the southern horizon, with the Moon and Saturn only 3° apart. Jupiter is also 30° above the horizon in the west at 10:00 PM local time and the Great Red Spot will be visible.
It is highly recommended that you get a copy of Sky and Telescope’s Field Map of the Moon, the very finest Moon map available for use at the telescope. It is available for $10.95 at www.skyandtelescope.com and on Amazon. All features mentioned in this blog will be keyed to the grid on the Field Map and will look like this: Plato: [NW/D9]
Courtesy of Gray Photography of Corpus Christi, Texas
Lunar photos: NASA / USGS / BMDO / LROC / ASU / DLR / LOLA / Moon Globe. Used by permission
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