Monday, November 16, 2015

Lunation 196: The 4-Day-Old Moon

At four days into Lunation 196 we can see still more detail on the face of Luna. At the top of the growing crescent we can see the twin craters of Hercules and Atlas; just above them we see the fairly featureless plain that is the beginning of the Frozen Sea, or Mare Frigoris. South of the twins the small, distinct crater Macrobius stands as the gatekeeper to the large oval of Mare Crisium and irregular edge of the Sea of Tranquility (Mare Tranquillitatis), that basaltic plain where the first human steps were taken back in 1969.

The Southern Highlands are coming into view, a vast jumble of impact (and possibly some volcanic) craters. Along the Terminator at six o'clock we find the odd complex of craters Brenner, Fabricius and Metius, and following the line of daylight another pair of twin craters, Rosenberger and Vlacq.

Finally, far to the south (seven o'clock) we can see that broken effect caused by crater walls' shadows creating pools of darkness; the floors of some craters at the Moon's poles never see sunlight, and might someday be a source of water ice for future Lunar explorers and even colonizers!

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