Wednesday, March 28, 2018

more moon

Last night's conditions were about the same as the night before: good enough seeing but with poor transparency.  I had hoped to spend time in Monoceros for close doubles, but the haze would have made the faint pairs difficult, so I returned to the moon, still at 553x.

I returned to the same areas I observed the night before.  What a difference 24 hours makes in the light angle, and what can be seen (or not seen).  The Hortensius Domes disappeared.  Promontorium Laplace's shadow was much shorter, and rounder; the hills whose peaks were the only lit feature the night before were now fully exposed to the sun.  I could see inside the very rough Maupertuis crater, which has three ridges running in parallel in one half of it. 

I looked at a new region now lit up: Crater J. Herschel was lit at a low angle, and is huge with a rough floor.  The Jura Mountains were amazingly rugged and detailed.  The interior of Sharp was still in shadow, but this helped give shape to the tear-drop crater rim, with a very bright lip along the curved edge of the shape. 

I moved up to the Mare Humorum region.  Gassendi and its rille were very busy, many features overlapping on each other.  The rille fractured into several branches; the crater has a sinuous rim and a multi-tipped central peak; an adjoining crater seemed to spill debris into Gassendi.  And there was a fairly large ghost crater on the opposite side from this.

I was just able to glimpse the Herigonius Rille, though it was tough: more a bright streak rather than a depression; it must be narrow and shallow.

The Dopplemayer Rilles were interesting: one long rille running on one side of Mare Humorum then forking into three, maybe four smaller shorter rilles.  This was tough but easier than Herigonius Rille.

"The Helmet" is a light colored area of non-mare volcanics, and really does look like a WWII soldier's helmet.  Its central part is roughed by craters and domes. 

I went looking for Kies Pi Dome but found a similar looking crater -- Mercator -- which had a row of three what I thought were domes arrayed outside of it -- though these might be just hills of the Mercator Scarp. 

Further east was Kies, much more ghostly than Mercator.  I had a tentative observation of Pi, which was quite small or perhaps just having gently sloping sides -- maybe needed a shallower light angle to see better.  Did not see a central pit.

Another fun, but short, night.

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