September 29, 2004

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Mountains at the Pole



Image Credit: Martin Fiedler

Mountains at the Pole

The south pole region of the Moon is a dramatic cacophony of craters and peaks. Extreme foreshortening and rugged topography make navigation here difficult. And that is just for observers, wait until lunar prospectors try mining ice in future decades! But today we have a gorgeous new image of the region just Earthward of the pole. Starting with 114 km wide Moretus and extending south and a little west we see overlapping, older and mostly flat-floored craters. The two mountains on the horizon are among the taller peaks on the Moon. Following the informal nomenclature of Ewen Whitaker's classic 1954 map, peak M1 is just in front of the shadowed crater Cabeus, and M3 is slightly behind and east of the crater, and nearly at 90 degrees S latitude. Whitaker suggests that M1 rises 20,000 to 25,000 ft ( 6 - 7.5 km) above the general surface level, and M3 is slightly lower at 15,000 to 20,000 ft (4.5 - 6 km). Just beyond the pole (but visible with good illumination and libration) are two additional massive peaks, M4 and M5 (which rises to 30,000 ft - 9 km). These peaks used to be called the Leibnitz Mts, but the name was decommissioned by an IAU committee ignorant of the real Moon. All of these peaks are portions of the rim of the South Pole-Aitken basin - little bits of the largest feature on the farside, sometimes visible from Earth.

Chuck Wood

Technical Details:
3 September, 2004. One of our first pictures taken with our new 14" f/4,5 Maksutov Newtonian telescope (Observatory Radebeul). We have taken 2000 raw images with the Philipps ToU-Cam Pro for each of the 2 pictures of the mosaic and added these raw images at a rate of 4% with Giotto. The 2 resulting images were processed with Fitswork. To reduce the seeing we used a Schuler IR-Filter. Martin Fielder.

Related Links:
Observatory Radebeul
Mountains Beyond Cabeus - LO IV
Ewen Whitaker (1954) The Lunar South Pole Regions, Journal British Astronomical Association, 64, pp 234-242. Ewen's map also appears on p. 127 of The Modern Moon: A Personal View.

Yesterday's LPOD: Unknown Luna 19

Tomorrow's LPOD: Crisium Closeup

Author & Editor:
Charles A. Wood


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