Popular Astronomy

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Gassendi and the Sea of Moisture

Since my last report a number of excellent observational lunar drawings have been received from Graham Sparrow, including studies of Mare Crisium, Eudoxus & Aristoteles, the 3-day old Moon, Plato and Gassendi & Mare Humorum, the latter of which is shown here. Graham’s pastel on black paper observational drawing (south at top), made on 15 March (21:15-53 UT) with an 8-inch Newtonian, shows the 110 km crater Gassendi on Mare Humorum’s northern border, a lunar morning view taking in much of the mare itself.

Gassendi overlies the mountainous plateau to the north, but its southern wall projects into Mare Humorum, where it narrows as its southern rim is almost submerged. Gassendi’s floor is a complex collection of hills, mountains, ridges and linear rilles. A group of three central mountains is surrounded by Rimae Gassendi which cut across the crater’s floor, but the detail really needs at least a 150 mm instrument to resolve clearly. To see Gassendi and Mare Humorum under similar lighting, look out on the evenings of 11 July and 9 August.

Dale Holt sent in a lovely observational drawing (shown below, again, a pastel on black paper study) of the Goldschmidt region, made on 22 April with his 6-inch refractor and Minitron vidcam.

A wide variety of lunar CCD images have been received from Mike Brown, Jamie Cooper, David Finnigan, Alan Tough and Philip Withers.

Added by:  Graham Sparrow