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Mare Nubium and the face of Wurzelbauer - 8th June


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After planning my lunar observation for tonight after a a quick session yesterday looking at Thebit/Straight Wall/Birt area in the Mare Nubium, I came across  an oddly named crater named Wurzelbaur whilst checking the area out in the “21st Century Atlas of the Moon” which only showed an image of the odd looking and named crater but no other details on it. Been a child growing up in the 70’s I knew this crater obviously wasn’t related to a certain scarecrow played by Jon Pertwee, or any group singing about Combine Harvesters back in the day. So I whipped open my copy of “Craters of the Near Side Moon” which explained that this crater’s main feature was the quote (sic) ‘rubbly clump of material on its floor.’ This was evident in the pictures in both of the above books, so it was marked down for definite observation later on.

I set up my Celestron 6/8 SE goto mount early on in the evening at around 7:30pm, and put on it my recently acquired Bresser  Messier AR-102S OTA. After doing a solar system alignment using the moon, I set the mount to lunar tracking and used my Celestron Ultima Duo 8 and 5mm EP to view things with. Later on I would also use my Explore Scientific 2x focal extender with both these EP’s when viewed allowed a closer look. As it was still bright daylight out the contrast on the Moon near the terminator wasn’t great, so I got myself aligned in the Mare Nubium area looking at Thebit and Birt initially. Rupes Recta was just about visible in the light, but would get better later on. Looking further west from Birt I could see Nicollet, and further west also the oddly shaped Wolf crater. Right on the terminator I could just see the emerging crater wall of the crater Bullialdus. To the south of the sea of clouds I could make out the trio of craters that Wurzelbauer sits in; Pitatus, Gauricus and of course Wurrzelbauer itself. Straight away I could see the rubble in Wurzelbauer, which was obvious even early on in the evening. After a while between breaks from the scope, cups of tea etc, when the sky darkened a little more and the terminator moved slowly westward my mind started to play that old pareidolia trick of trying to make sense of what my eye was seeing in the floor on Wurzelbauer, and for the rest of the observation session this rubble looked like a grinning face. Later on looking back at the pictures in the books I could see this face still also. Maybe the old scarecrow was looking back at me after all. Either way I observed the moon until it went down behind my roof, and then finished off looking at some double stars, and the odd planetary nebula that could be seen in the twilight skies. Next time you get a chance see if you can see the face of Wurzelbauer too! 😀

BTW: I later learned after checking in on my copy of the “Atlas of the Moon” by Rukl that the crater is named after Johann P.  von Wurzelbauer who was an early German solar observer. 🧐


Edited by Knighty2112
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