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December 21, 2007


Filed under: , , — chuckwood @ 12:01 am

image by Jérôme Grenier, Paris, France

What is that crater behind Moretus? Wait, that’s not Moretus! Its the smaller look-alike Schomberger. This image captures the often overlooked area just east of Moretus, on the eastern side of the lunar prime meridian. As with most places near the southern limb, navigational beacons are necessary, and Boguslawsky with its bright rim crater “D” provides it to the east, and the large plateau-like mountain Leibnitz Beta is prominent further north. Once again, Ewen Whitaker’s 50+ year old map is the best guide to this area, and I have transfered most of the designations from there and Rükl’s Atlas to a smaller version of Jérôme’s image below. I was certain that the massive eastern rim of Simpelius would have received a designation long ago, and it did - it is Simpelius Alpha on the Beer and Mädler map of the 1830s. Comparing this complex, cluttered and latitudinally compressed area on Jérôme’s modern image with Beer and Mädler’s map brings a sense of reverence and awe. Mädler - he was the mapper, Beer provided the telescope - used a 3.75″ refractor and had to plot everything by hand while standing at the eyepiece, yet almost every mark on his map matches a real feature.

Chuck Wood


Technical Details:
18 December 2007. Dmk31 AF03,Orion Optics (UK) OMC 12″ + barlow 2x + red filter.

Related Links:
Rükl plates 73 & 74
Jérôme’s website.

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  1. Wow! Wonderful photo. And a reminder: This area is nicely positioned tonight, tomorrow night and the next night for anyone who wants to look at it for themselves. Weather permitting, I will be out seeing how many of the features I can identify.

    Comment by Howard E — December 21, 2007 @ 6:47 am

  2. I think I have a tendency sometimes to look at images like this an not realize the huge scale involved. If my information is correct, Schomberger is 52 miles (85km) in diameter and two miles deep, and Simpelius is 43 miles (70km) in diameter and almost two miles deep.

    I read that the Leibnitz Mountains are generally higher than the Himalayas here on Earth. I wonder how high Leibnitz Beta is?


    Comment by Westwind — December 21, 2007 @ 11:01 am

  3. Bill,

    You will probably have to wait for the results from Kaguya and Chang’e-1. The many Lunar Orbiter photos from the 1960’s clearly show a strong pyramid-shaped peak on the rim of Scott (under the “M” in the labeled LPOD photo), but the shadows are not well placed for measurement of height differences, and the surrounding terrain is so rugged there is no good reference point to call its “base” anyway. Its relative height could be, and probably has been, estimated by stereo mapping, but again the lack of a good reference point is a problem. Some of the experiments on the new lunar missions should, I believe, return absolute heights relative to the Moon’s center.

    – Jim

    Comment by JimMosher — December 21, 2007 @ 3:13 pm

  4. Chuck,

    I am especially impressed by the irregular profile of the limb. When Jérôme’s photo is calibrated by identifying features at known positions (it would be nice if the time at which it was taken were known), the depression of the limb relative to the expected constant radius sphere is quite apparent to the right of Demonax is quite apparent.

    As you undoubtedly noticed, the IAU once had names for *many* peaks in this area. For example, in addition to Leibnitz Beta and Simpelius Alpha, there were two other peaks connected with Simpelius alone: Simpelius Beta on opposite rim (above the letter “D”), and Gamma, below Simplelius, between the letters “A” and “E” (based on Neison’s map and their description in Mary Blagg’s /Collated List/).

    One other peak that may be of interest, and is readily visible in Jérôme’s splendid photo, is Leibnitz Gamma. It can be seen on the limb at about 11 o’clock from the “S” in Scott, and it casts a boomerang-shaped shadow to the right. The long arm of the shadow is falling on the floor of 101-km Amundsen, and the short arm into the unnamed 60 km crater between Amundsen and Scott.

    I am also wondering if Whitaker might have misidentified Leibnitz Delta and Epsilon. The broad peak on the limb at the far left looks very much like the Leibnitz Delta of Neison’s map, with Neison’s Leibnitz Epsilon corresponding to what Whitaker calls “Delta” (the bright peak slightly onto the disk at 10 o’clock from the “D” in Demonax). Perhaps Whitaker didn’t have a photo showing this peak on the far left with such clarity.

    Those wishing, like Howard, to identify the named features for themselves may need to be reminded of your system of placing letters on the side of the feature pointing towards the primary feature after which they are named, and they may also wish to make the following very minor corrections:

    * Boguslawsky M is the 9-km crater touching 22-km Boguslawsky L at 4 o’clock. The crater below the “M” is unnamed.
    * Schomberger X is not the crater labeled. Above the “X” is a shadowed hill. Schomberger X is the little crater to its left.
    * Manzinus N is not the shadowed crater over which the “N” is printed — it is a very faint one just above that.
    * Scott E is the crater over which that letter is printed. The more obvious crater just below the E is unnamed, as is the crater on the far rim (this is not an error, the way the letter is positioned is just ambiguous).

    There are also another 20-30 IAU named craters in this field whose names seem to have been omitted to avoid clutter.

    In addition to Amundsen, the recently named, but unlabeled, craters Hédervári, Nobile, and Faustini are all visible on the extreme limb:

    The far rim of 69-km Hédervári (”R6″ on Whitaker’s map) can be seen as a detached streak on the limb between the words “Demonax” and “Scott”. Immediately in front of the streak (towards the Leibnitz Gamma end) is 19-km Demonax B.

    73-km Nobile (the “R2″ of Whitaker’s map) accounts for the shadow above the “M” printed over the peak Leibnitz Beta, and at this the libration of Jérôme’s photo (much skewed compare to Whitaker’s map) it extends well to the right probably ending where one sees the strong bright dark line at about 2 o’clock from the word “Beta”.

    39-km Faustini (the “R3″ of Whitaker’s map) probably accounts for the shadowy streak along the limb above this, starting at about 1 o’clock from the word “Beta”. Below these is the prominent key-hole shaped crater Malapert E. The shadowy region to the upper right of Malapert E is the bowl of Malapert.

    Above the shadow of Malapert, Jérôme shows a sunlit ridge on the limb rising towards the pole. After correcting for the difference in librations, this is extremely close to where Whitaker says his “M6″ peak should be, and Jérôme’s libration was almost ideal for placing M6 on the limb if it is at the position Whitaker shows. But Jérôme’s peak looks much less impressive than Whitaker’s and his photo stops just short of telling us if the peak he photographed continues to rise to the right, or stops where the photo ends. I wonder if Jérôme has the adjoining view??

    Or perhaps someone will feel inspired to look for M6 the next few nights? It should be readily visible on the limb a little to the east (that is on the Mare Crisium side) of the keyhole crater (Malapert E). Note that this is opposite to the orientation in Jérôme’s photo because the skewing will be more similar to that in Whitaker’s chart, shifting the position of M6 eastward relative to Malapert E.

    – Jim

    Comment by JimMosher — December 21, 2007 @ 3:14 pm

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