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Tantalus

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Blog Entries posted by Tantalus

  1. Tantalus
    Monday 11th April, 8-11pm
    (Now armed with a notepad and taking notes) - Tonight I started in the North with the just visible Scoresby, then Goldschmidt, which has a high wall to it's southeast, and the wonderfully-named Anaxagoras and Anaxagoras A, right on the edge of the terminator. Then Epigenes, and Birmingham which tonight it looked like a roughened triangular plateau. From there down to Plato, the eastern edge of it's smooth floor partially covered in long shadows. In moments of good seeing, I may have seen one of the craterlets, but right on the edge of the shadow, I couldn't be sure.
    Next the Alps and the unmistakeable Alpine Valley. Then into Mare Imbrium, where the peaks of Montes Tenerife, Mons Pico, Mons Piton and the Montes Spitzbergen shone brightly in the sunlight, casting shadows into the Mare. The Archimedes crater and the Montes Archimedes, with Aristillus and Autolycus to the East makes for another interesting area of observation. From here The Appenines lay to the south, terminating in the west at the Eratosthenes crater. Along the nothern ridge of the Appenines, the peaks of Mons Huygens, Mons Ampere and Mons Wolff glowed brightly. I could see prominent ridges at either end of the mountain chain, but unfortunately failed to spot Hadley Rille.
    Over in Mare Serenitatis I could make out feint rays extending above and below Bessel crater, Sulpicius Gallus punctuated the southwestern edge of the Mare, and a bright spot in Montes Haemus, near Sulpicius Gallus M. Moving south, a darker ridged region at the southeastern edge of the Mare Vaporum caught my eye (the Pyroclastic region?), thought it was difficult to make out any detail at this magnification. Just below I managed to tease out Rima Hyginus, with Hyginus crater at it's middle. Then crater Treisnecker, and in moments of good seeing I got a fleeting glimpse of parts of the Treisnecker Rilles.
    Back towards the teminator, and Schroter, Sommering, Mosting, and the Flammarion walled plain. Buried in the western edge of Flammarion is Mosting A, reputed to be the middle of the Moon's near-side. To the southeast the feint Sporer crater and the dark Herschel crater with a dark scar to it's east. The large triplet of Ptolemaeus, Alphonsus and Arzarchel dominated the south part of the terminator. Inside Ptolemaeus, I could make out the A, D and S craters, and possibly one other close to S. To the west is Davy and Davy Y, and I could just see a couple of the larger craters in the Davy crater chain - Catena Davy. In Alphonsus, the central peak was clear, with a ridge running southwards. Inside Arzarchel, it's high peak stood proud, and Arzachel A. Then Thebit and Thebit A.
    Then perhaps one of the most popular lunar features, (and I'm ashamed to say my first viewing) The Straight Wall - Rupes Recta. Nice to see it at last... To it's west is the Birt crater, and with averted vision I could just about make out Rima Birt. Continuing south is another triplet of Purbach, Regiomontanus and Walter, flanked to the east by a line of four - La Caille, Blanchinus, Werner, and Aliacensis, and further west is the cratered walled-plain Deslandres. Inside Deslandres the most obvious feature is a the dark crater Hell!,and feinter Lexell in the south. Almost at the bottom now with Oriontus and Saussure, Maginus, and the edge of Clavius was just beginning to come into sunlight. And finally an oblique Moretus, and just to the west of the Lunar south pole there was a detached bright spot.
    Tuesday 12th April, 10-12pm
    Starting from Anaxagoras - now clearly visible, then Fontenelle A and Fontenelle, and the now rhomboidal Birmingham. Plato, and in a line to the west Plato M, Y and B lead along the alpes to Condamine and Maupertius, with the top of it's central peak just catching the sunlight, right on the terminator. Down over the Montes Recti into Mare Imbrium, traversing ridges in the Mare to Le Verrier and Helicon, then Lambert. Between Lambert and Timocharis, two high peaks shone brightly. A ridge Northwest of Lambert lay on the terminator, with an isolated bright spot just beyond - the peak of La Hire?. Then Pytheas, and Draper just above the Montes Carpatus.
    Through a gap in the Carpatus to Gay-Lussac, and the mighty Copernicus! In Copernicus two of the central peaks caught the sun, and terracing could be seen inside the western wall of the crater. To the East, a feint Stadius crater, with a partial edge picked out by mountains. South of Copernicus is Fauth and Fauth A, and Reinhold. One edge of Lansberg could be seen right on the terminator.
    Walled plain Fra Mauro, with Bonpland to the south, and Parry to the east, with 'U'-shaped Parry M beside it. Below that is Guericke. Darney and Lubiniezky, then Bullialdus with Bullialdus A and B, in southern Mare Nubum. Then thin clouds threatened to spoil the view, and with the cold starting to bite I was eager to bring this session to a close, so I picked up the pace... The unusual shape of the Wolf crater lies a little further east. Down to Pitatus and Gauricus, and the Tycho. Ejecta rays from Tycho were already extending up the eastern Lunar face as far as Mare Nectaris. West of Tycho, on the terminator Montanari is squeezed between Wilhelm and Longomontanus plain, with detached peaks on it's western wall. Clavius is also descibed as a walled plain - Rutherford and Porter straddle the walls, and Clavius D, C, Y, N, J and T all visible.
    Close to the Moon's southern edge, Blancanus looked rhomboidal. Below Klaproth, the southern part of the rim of Casatus (I think), caught in the sunlight, hung off the bottom corner of the terminator.
    Tonight, I could see quite a few sunlit features hanging off the terminator, and so many ridges, craters, craterlets, mountain peaks, and other lumps and bumps close to the terminator - to try and identify them all in one night would be... well, Lunacy! :D
  2. Tantalus
    120mm F8.3 Refractor
    5mm Celestron X-Cel (200x)
    The warmer weather and clear skies we've been getting over the past few days has tempted me to catch up on some lunar observing. To be frank, I've been avoiding the Moon for a while because I had difficulty identifying Lunar features whilst contorting myself into a convenient position to see through the refractor with a star diagonal - mirror-image and randomly rotated depending on which side of the 'scope I'm standing. But freshly armed with a copy of Virtual Moon Atlas I'm now learning to navigate my way around the Moon's face. So this will be a personal exercise in indentifying basic Lunar features and not an in-depth observation of those features...
    Friday 8th April, 8-9:30pm
    Started off in the Cauchy region, and the Cauchy crater at one end of Rima Cauchy, and Rupes Cauchy just below it. Then up to the Serpentine Ridge - Dorsa Smirnov. Right on the terminator, it was probably the most obvious feature of the night, wending it's way up Mare Serenitatis. To the east is another ridge system Dorsa Aldovandri. Just above it is Posidonius crater, with a deep shadow to it's eastern edge, and the smaller Posidonius A crater inside. Further north to Burg, a small deeper-looking crater in Lacus Mortis.
    From there, back down through Mare Tranquilitatis, past Maskelyne, the curiously shaped Toricelli (a dark scar to it's east, extending from Isidorus C), down to Theophilus, Cyrillus and Catharina, and Rupes Altai just coming into view. Below the horseshoe-shaped Fracastorius, it gets a bit confusing in the heavily crater south.
    Saturday 9th April, 8-10pm.
    Tonight I began in the south with the Rupes Altai a 250 mile long Scarp that terminates at the Piccolomini crater. Then northwards to Mare Tranquilitatis, and Sabine and Ritter, with the smaller Ritter C, B and D above. Just below Sabine, the ovoid Hypatia c, and the distorted main Hypatia crater. So back up to Ritter, Manners and Arago. To the west of Manners, the thin dark scar of the Rima Ariadaeus Rille, and the tiny Ariadaeus crater at it's end. The shadows along the terminator formed another dark, straight 'feature' along the North-Eastern edge of the large Julius Caesar crater. I found this whole area to be an interesting region, and one that I want to further explore at a later date.
    Pass Maclear, Ross, and Plinius and across the smooth floor of Serenitatis. Revisiting last nights favourite, the Serpentine Ridge, it was interesting to note how much harder it was to find without the shadow along it's western edge to help pick it out, and how dramatically the Lunar landscape changes in just 24 hours. To the north of Serenitatis, the convoluted edges of the Caucasus Mountains were just coming into sunlight. Buried in that edge is a small walled plain, Alexander, just 50 miles across. Onwards and upwards to the large craters Eudoxus and Aristoteles, the latter slightly overlapped by Mitchell. And finally C Mayer, and the oddly-named Sheepshanks...
    I wasn't taking notes, so I've probably missed a few things out... including the isolated peaks somewhere in the north-east that were casting saw-toothed shadows, but I'm enjoying getting up-close a personal will El Luna again. :)
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