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Marvin Jenkins

Walk along the terminator

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I am not going to beat on about the weather but I will say that my last decent clear night was early October! Also lets not mention the clear night that featured the meteor shower that never was.

Tonight it has been clear and I thought I have to do a Lunar session at least as it has been so long and right now we are fogged out by ten pm. I set up the EQ5 with the 150pds in daylight and waited for dusk. It was pretty much dark by six pm so I got it all pointed in the right direction and dived in. 

Now in my previous sessions I have tried to take notes using paper and pen, so much moisture the paper is useless in twenty minutes. Yesterday I found out I have a voice recorder on my phone and decided to use that. The biggest question... do I really sound like Steptoe? Seems so.

Started with a 25mm plossle, and I am happy with the initial view of the clear dark Maria floors. Copernicus and Aristillus showing bright white rays. Mare Imbrium is just incredible.

Sinus Iridum could not be better, the terminator just behind the Montes Jura. Crater Bianchini so stark and defined. Can’t see wrinkle ridges yet, but right there in Mare Imbrium two small equal size craters of Le Verrier and Helicon. A really noticeable feature of the Jura mountains is the final peak on the south end near the Luna 17 site. Looks like a single peak casting a black shadow.

Moving south to a crater with bright white ray system, I look it up on my small moon map, it is Aristarchus. It is right on the terminator, I don’t think it is possible for there to be that much contrast. The crater is cut clean in half, total black with the west wall completely illuminated. Sadly Valois Schroteri is in darkness. Close by and showing shadows are Montes Harbinger.

I keep moving south through Oceanus Procellarum and Crater Letronne takes my breath away, my moon map does not do that justice. A touch more than half a crater with a flooded floor. Farther south crater Mersenius to the west of Mare Humorum is really showing off, incredible contrast.

Cassendi is the star of the show, clearly visible a central mountain peak. I can see that the north wall has been struck leaving a perfect poc mark. A lot farther south an elongated crater really catches my eye, I think it is Schiller. There are so many craters in the south that it is hard to tell. Back to Mare Humorum and what appears to be a crater opposite Cassendi, it is Vitello. I keep looking and I realises that it is one of a complex of three craters that look like horse shoes side by side as they appear to be missing there north walls.

I pop in the 17mm ep and notice that the west side of Humorum shows some fascinating structure. It looks a little like the lava floor has been pushed up into the Mare wall. I wonder if it is collapsed terracing form overlapping craters? I look it up after the session and appears to be Rimae Mersenius, A first for me as I had never heard of it.

Time to go all out and use the 10mm. The central peak of Letronne now showing and I can just make out two small bright craters on the flooded floor either side of the central mountain. I am just starting to see some wrinkle detail on the floor of Mare Humorum but that dreaded fog is starting to come in and it is already below zero so I pack up and cuddle the log burner for a while.

I can’t believe how much detail there is to be had with a relatively small scopes. I will be reminding myself to ‘do Lunar’ once in a while instead of moaning about it getting in the way of Messier hunting.

Happy crater hunting to you all. Marvin


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Lovely report, sounds like the conditions were excellent, it is surprising what 6” of aperture can show. I’m also trying to embrace lunar observing more, I‘ve started on the Lunar 100 to give me some goals. 👍

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