The week of May 15-21 takes us from Day 26 to Day 2. This week we will highlight the moon crater Wargentin, viewable early Sunday morning.

moon crater WargentinWargentin: [L=60°W] This is one of the more unusual craters on the Moon. When you catch Wargentin in the right light, it has a fascinating story to tell. There is an almost inviolable rule that crater floors must be lower than their surrounding terrain. Not so with Wargentin! Unlike most crater impacts that leave obvious depressions, the projectile that created Wargentin blasted out a large hole, then opened up cracks that pierced through to the molten zone far below. Subsequently, hot lava rose through these fissures, filled Wargentin’s empty bowl to the brim, then inexplicably stopped just before spilling over! If the Sun is at a low enough angle, the wrinkle ridge pattern on the surface of Wargentin looks as if an enormous chicken stamped its foot on the ground and flew off just as the lava congealed, leaving its imprint to tantalize the imagination of future astronomers.


On Wednesday, Jupiter will be 0.8° and Mercury 4° south of the Moon.


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 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

Andrew Planck
Moon Crater Wargentin: Unique Wrinkle Ridge Pattern
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