Thursday, 21 April 2016

What a difference 3 days make around Plato crater?

Well we all know, that our closest celestial neighbour has phases and it constantly changing as it revolves around planet Earth. The illumination of it's surface shown to us increases and decreases day by day, but the way to actually see how dramatic this change is if we take a photo of the same area with a few days difference.

The photo below is a composite of two shots, one was taken on the 16th April and the other on the 19th April.
They show roughly the same area - Mare Imbrium mainly. The dominant crater on this two photos is Plato, between Mare Imbrium and Mare Frigoris, left form Montes Alpes.
But Aristoteles, Eudoxus, Archimedes and Aristillus craters are also quite exquisite features.

See how surface details "fade away" as Sun gets higher in the sky (if you were on Moon). Because no shadow present, the whole surface becomes pretty pale and harder to make up fine details.
Most likely that's the reason, why terminator (the dividing line between lit and unlit areas) is the most interesting target for observers. It you slowly move your scope alongside it, fantastic surface details can be observed, such as craters, mountains, valleys, seas etc.

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