Around Copernicus - Gibbous Moon Watching Part 2

Around Copernicus - Gibbous Moon Watching Part 2

Following on from the recent post on what to look for around the Mare Imbrium at the time of a gibbous moon this post will take a tour around the copernicus crater. The copernicus crater is an easy to identify crater found roughly half way down the moon's surface. You can see it marked as number 2 on the image below.

The Waxing Gibbous Moon

gibbous moon

Click on the image to enlarge.

Once you have identified the Copernicus crater then zoom in on this area with your binoculars or telescope and try to take the tour below.

Around Copernicus Tour

Copernicus crater

Start at S for start

S. Copernicus crater 

This is a very impressive crater with beautiful and large rays emanating out over the moon's surface right up into the Mare Imbrium. This crater is about 60 miles across and the edge of the crater is terraced. This occurs when the weight of the rock making up the wall of the crater falls back down the wall towards the floor. Look for the mountains in the centre of the crater. These form in big craters when the rock rebounds back out after the impact. Much like what happens when a drop of water hits a pool. You can see in the image below the water rebounding back up and out after a drop has hit.

drop splashing close up

1. Keplar crater

Similar to Copernicus but far less impressive, this crater is well worth observing though. See how far you can trace the rays. Just to the north of the crater is a dome that can be seen and to the south is the crater Encke which is a strange shaped, sometimes described as polygonal crater.

2. Bay of Rainbows (Sinus Iridium)

Also known as The Iridescent Hollow. This bay was covered in the around Imbrium tour. It is thought to be a half filled crater.

3. Aristarchus and Herodatus

These are interesting craters. Aristarchus is the bright crater. It is one of the brightest on the moon and you can trace its ray system going out to the east (left side as you look at the moon). The crater right next door to it is Herodatus and this is interesting as it is thought to be a volcanic crater not a meteor crater. Just north of these craters is  Schroter's valley. This is one of the deepest valleys (known as rilles on the moon) and if you look carefully at the valley near to Herodatus you can make out the shape of the Cobra's head.

4. Mairan crater

The Mairan crater starts a nice row of craters that all look similar. Starting with Mairan the next one up that looks the same is the Sharp crater (roughly the midpoint and slightly below numbers 5 and 2 on the image) and the next one that lays right next to the Bay of Rainbows is called Bianchini (above and left the number 2).

5. Harpalus crater

This crater contains central peaks and a terraced wall. It marks the boundary between The Bay of Dew (Sinus Roris) seen on the image below the number 5 and the Sea of Cold (Mare Frigoris) found above the number 5.

The next tour will look at the bottom of the gibbous moon around The Sea of Moisture.

Around Imbrium - Gibbous Moon Watching Part 1

Around The Sea of Moisture - Gibbous Moon Watching Part 3

Related Posts:  Observing

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