The week of January 20-26 takes us from Day 25 to Day 2. Unfortunately the Moon is too close to the Sun all week long to observe it, although you might be able to squeeze in something early Tuesday morning. This week we will highlight Schröter’s Valley, briefly visible just before sunrise on Jan. 21st.
Schröter’s Valley/Cobra Head [NW/G5-4] Schröter’s Valley is the Moon’s most impressive sinuous rille and was created when a monstrous lava tube collapsed. It can be seen even in very small telescopes. It begins at a volcano that is popularly known as “the Cobra Head” and then meanders for 100 miles toward Oceanus Procellarum. For most of its length it varies between three and six miles wide and is up to 3,000 feet deep. It is estimated that at the peak of its activity an incredible 10 million tons of lava per second flowed through Schröter’s Valley! At the end of its 100-mile journey the lava dramatically cascaded over a 3000-foot-high cliff into Oceanus Procellarum, which it then filled to a depth of 600 feet!
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