Apollo 15 Landing Site

Apollo 15 Landing Site
Apollo 15 Landing Site

Apollo 15 Landing Site
Last evening proved to be a fine night for observing the Moon and the planets. The atmosphere at sunset settled down to a Pickering 8/10 and 9/10 for brief intervals. This was predicted so I had two telescopes outside (my 18 inch f/4.9 and 13.1 inch f/6 both Dobsonians). At 373x using the 18 inch scope I could clearly see the floor of Palus Putredinis (The Marsh of Decay) and not far away Rima Hadley at the foot of Montes Apenninus. I spent a 3 hour interval on this sketch but actual sketching time was more like 2 hours. The sketch was done using the smaller scope because it is driven. 4 mm and 6 mm eyepieces gave me magnifications of 499x and 333x and occasionally I used the 18 inch scope to verify some of the meanders of Hadley rille and other small features. I have marked the landing site (red dot) of Apollo 15 Lunar Landing Module which occurred the summer of 1971, a very exciting time for the US space program.
Craters visible in this sketch include Hadley C 6 km. in diameter and Aratus (10 km.).

For this sketch I used: Gray sketching paper, 9”x 11”, white and black Conte’ pastel pencils and blending stumps.
Telescopes: 13.1 inch f/ 6 Dobsonian and 18 inch F/4.9, eyepieces : 4mm, 6mm

Date: April 29, 2015 01:00-04:00 UT
Temperature: 4.4°C (40°F)
Clear, calm
Seeing: Pickering 8.5
Transparency: 4/5
Co longitude: 29.9°
Lunation: 10 days
Illumination: 75.9 %
Frank McCabe

Apollo 15 Landing Site - Labeled
Apollo 15 Landing Site – Labeled

Vallis Schröteri

Vallis Schröteri, a huge lava vent and rille system on the Aristarchus Plateau - January 2, 2015
Vallis Schröteri, a huge lava vent and rille system on the Aristarchus Plateau – January 2, 2015


find attached a charcoal and pastel sketch of Aristarchus, Herodotus and the famous Vallis Schröteri. I hope you like it.

Object Name: Vallis Schröteri, Aristarchus, Herodotus
Object Type: Lunar Valley and Crater
Location: Germany, Dusseldorf area
Date: 2015-01-02, 1800-1845 CET
Media: chalk pastel pencil and charcoal pencil on black sketching cardbox
Telescope: Martini 10” f/5 Dobsonian
Eyepiece: Skywatcher HR Planetary 5mm
Clear skies!


Gassendi, Rimae Mersenius and Rupes Liebig at the terminator

Mare Humorum including Gassendi, Rimae Mersenius and Rupes Liebig at the terminator - December 2, 2014
Mare Humorum including Gassendi, Rimae Mersenius and Rupes Liebig at the terminator – December 2, 2014
Gassendi, Rimae Mersenius and Rupes Liebig at the terminator labeled
Gassendi, Rimae Mersenius and Rupes Liebig at the terminator labeled


This was one of those nights things just fall together. Excellent seeing and light enough from the Moon that I could see the paper well. After finishing my sketch at the eyepiece I went inside to clean it up and was pleasantly surprised that I liked it pretty much the way it was.

110km wide Gassendi Crater showed some excellent roughened floor details with hummocks casting shadows as well as floor rilles illuminated as bright & dark lines. Rima Mersenius is brilliantly lit on the terminator and the bright scarp of Rupes Liebig can be seen at the base of the wall.

Gassendi Crater, Mersenius Rille, Rupes Liebig, Mare Humorum @11.7 days lunation
.12/2/14 2030-2140 HST
12.5″ Portaball, 227x
Canson Black paper and white and black Conte’ Crayon, white charcoal pencil
Photoscape to adjust contrast

Cindy (Thia) Krach
Haleakala Amateur Astronomers
Maui, Hawaii

The Aristarchus Plateau

The Aristarchus Plateau, the lunar crater Aristarchus and environs - October 5, 2014
The Aristarchus Plateau, the lunar crater Aristarchus and environs – October 5, 2014

The Aristarchus Plateau, the lunar crater Aristarchus and environs – October 5, 2014[/caption]The Aristarchus plateau is one of the biggest and most spectacular volcanic regions in the Moon. With good seeing and the Moon high above the horizon, the region was impressive on October 5th, when it was near the terminator. Vallis Schröteri, the giantic lava channel meanders through the plateau starting from the famous Cobra Head vent, which is now mostly under shadow. The Aristarchus crater has a very bright wall with two dark bands; and to its north, Rupes Toscanelli stands out nicely. Finally, to the south of the plateau, the Herodotus Omega dome is easy to see, thanks to the oblique illumination.

Sketch: 2HB graphite pencil on white paper, scanned and processed with Photoshop CS3
Object Name: The Aristarchus Plateau
Location: Asturias, Spain
Date: October 5th, 2014 21:30-22:30 UT
Instrument: 120mm f/8.3 refractor + Barlow 2x + UWA 6,7mm (300x)
Observing report (in Spanish): https://sites.google.com/site/astrodgonzalez/observaciones/201410-aristarco
Best regards,
Diego González

Gassendi at Terminator

Lunar crater Gassendi - October 4, 2014
Lunar crater Gassendi – October 4, 2014

Object Name: Gassendi
Object Type: Lunar Crater
Location: Dunboyne Ireland
Date: 4th October 2014
Media: Graphite pencil H2, H3 & B6 with standard white stock and technical drawing equipment.

This is actually sketched as observed through the eyepiece with a 15mm on a 9.25 SCT rather than from the phone screen. The seeing was fair but a weather front was fast approaching and just managed to observe long enough to capture this detail. At the same time I took some snapshots through the eyepiece with my smartphone for a smartphone astronomy site – so got to do both before the clouds rolled in. Adding the phone to the sketch allows me to add a technical drawing into the mix which I not (only) enjoy but also allows me to capture the evenings activities and optical equipment used during the session.

Many Thanks


Early Morning Pitatus and Neighbors

Lunar crater Pitatus and environs - September 17, 2014
Lunar crater Pitatus and environs – September 17, 2014
Lunar crater Pitatus and environs (labeled) - September 17, 2014
Lunar crater Pitatus and environs (labeled) – September 17, 2014

Pitatus is an old, large 97 km. diameter crater on the edge of Mare Nubium. The floor of this crater has a linear central peak which was casting a fine elongated triangular shadow at the time of this observation and sketch. To the south craters Wurzelbauer (88 km.) and Gauricus (79 km.) could be seen; both of these craters show badly warn rims; both much older than Pitatus. Attached to the northwest rim of Pitatus is the crater Hesodius (43 km.). At about the eighth or ninth day of lunation you can observe the famous “sunrise ray” beaming across the floor of Hesodius through a break in the wall with Pitatus. This is certainly a sight worth observing.


For this sketch I used: Black Strathmore 400 Artagain paper, 12”x 9”, both white and
black Conte’pastel pencils and blending stumps.

Telescope: 10 inch f/5.7 Dobsonian and 9mm eyepiece 161x
Date: 09-17-2014 10:00-11:25 UT
Temperature: 5°C (42°F)
Clear, calm
Seeing: Antoniadi III
Co longitude: 187.3°
Lunation: 22.6 days
Illumination: 39.0 %

Frank McCabe

Crater Gassendi and the northern part of Mare Humorum

Lunar crater Gassendi and the the northern part of Mare Humorum - September 5, 2014
Lunar crater Gassendi and the the northern part of Mare Humorum – September 5, 2014

Here is a sketch of the Moon on the 5th of September from my backyard
in Adelaide, South Australia.

The moons phase was waxing at 83%, with only the very western edge
still in shadow. I observed with a C11 SCT. Seeing was quite
reasonable, so I took a 15mm eyepiece + 2x Barlow for a close look.

The shallow illumination on Mare Humorum made the creases on the mare
floor stand out. Crater Gassendi, toward the bottom, showed stark
shadows. Rimae Hippalus was visible, passing through the partially
submerged crater Hippalus at the top right. Because I used a diagonal
prism, the sketch is mirror imaged.

I used pastel chalks and black and white pastel pencils on black


Posidoniu​s: a FFC crater

Posidonius crater-March 7, 2014
Posidonius crater-March 7, 2014


This is a sketch of the crater Posidonius made trought my 6” achromatic refractor (TS Individual 152/900), binoviewer, a pair of 10 mm eyepieces (BCO´s) and Barlow that gave me 330x. The seeing was very poor at the beginning of the session but it was improved until I could get very stable view of this formation.

Posidonius is a beautiful crater that can be classified as a FFC crater (Floor Fractured Crater). It has several fractures on its floor that can be observed with small telescopes, and also the amazing Rima Posidonius, a lava channel that crosses the crater from north to south on the eastern part of the crater. The origin of this kind of FFC´s is controversial but the modern theories suggest that a magmatic intrusion below the crater bulged and fractured the floor.

The complex pattern of the shadows and the variety of characteristics and formations inside Posidonius make this crater a very interesting observation target for any amateur astronomer.

I hope you to enjoy with this sketch.

•Object Name: Posidonius crater
•Object Type: Lunar crater, FFC crater
•Location: Vitoria-Gasteiz (Basque Country)
•Date: 7-3-2014
•Media: graphite pencil on white paper, captured with digital camera and processed with Gimp.

If you wish to read more about this observational report and others, please visit the web of my astronomical group (www.laotramitad.org).

Best regards.

David Sedano

Lunar horizon – Rima Petavius

Rima Petavius
Rima Petavius

I have observed rima Petavius several times .

One exellant seeing night, 2011. 9[september] .14 …. , I ,d found out with my 8″ refractor at x 340 the three tuna-fish like convex hills on the middle of the 80 km long rima road,,,

I was then feel very happy because maybe this discovery was the first since amateur lunar observing history.

I have made this artistic conception today, a Lunar horizon landscape viewed from on one of the the three [Tuna-fish like hills] which located on the bottom of 4 km wide, 80 km long magnificent rill.

I dont know how many billions of years have passed on this geological creation,formation, or evollution forces- sequences.


8 inches refractor x 340, homade equatorial

date; 2011. sep. 14

location; at backyard home in South korea

media; graphite pencils , a white A4 printer paper

tranceparency; worst, 0.5-1/10

seeing ; perfect, 10/10

Crater Goclenius

Crater Goclenius
Crater Goclenius

The seeing was better than usual on November 18th, so I decided to use a high magnification on my C6, and see what would catch my eye.

Near the edge of Mare Fecunditatis, craters Gutenberg and Goclenius stood out, with two rimae running in from the north west.

I zeroed in on the crater Goclenius itself. The Rimae run right into it. The shadows were quite stark, revealing the broken down crater walls, and the fractures on the floor were very apparent.

A pencil sketch was done at the eyepice, and a photo taken. The final sketch was then completed at leisure a couple of weeks later.

Crater Goclenius, C6 (150mm SCT, 3 x Barlow)
Adelaide, South Australia, November 18th 2012.
Medium is charcoal on white paper.


Rima G. Bond

Rima G. Bond and Crater Hall
Rima G. Bond and Crater Hall


today, when I started my observing-session, I found a very nice area with a longer Rima in south of Lacus Somniorum. It was the landscape near Crater Hall and G. Bond.

I´ ve never observed this region before and I was very surprised about the dark thin cleft, wich follows a course roughly along a north-south orientation, and continues for a length of about 150 kilometers.

Object Name Rima G. Bond / Crater Hall Object Type Lunar Crater Location near Tauberbischofsheim Germany Date 27.03.2012 20.30 – 21.00 p. m. Media graphite pencil and white Paper

The telescope was a Meade ACF 10″ on Vixen SXD by 300x

Best greetings


Vallis Schröteri

Vallis Schröteri
Vallis Schröteri

Object name: vallisschröteri
Object type: Lunar Crater
Location: Amsterdam
Date: 8-5-2012
Media: Pastel on black paper

During a very gray period the last weeks, and with no chance to use the telescope, I decided to enhance my sketching skills by sketching some moon craters based on pictures made by others. This one is a sketch of the vallisschröteri area. Made with pastel pencil on black paper.

Clear skies and kind regards

Matthijs Broggel

Aristarchus, Herodotus and Schroter’s Valley

Aristarchus, Herodotus & Schroter's Valley
Aristarchus, Herodotus & Schroter's Valley

Objects names: lunar craters Aristarchus, Herodotus and Schroter’s Valley
Objects: Craters, sinuous rille and wrinkle ridges.
Location: Teulon, Manitoba, Canada
Date January 5th, 2012 (7:00-8:30 CST)
Media: Graphite pencils, ink pens and some digital scrubbing on highlights to get brightness adjusted. Original sketch on white paper approx 5″ x 8″

Objects viewed through Celestron Ultima 8 SCT with binoviewer around 250x with fairly good seeing. The individual peaks near the terminator were especially bright. What really struck me were the two wrinkle ridges at the top and bottom that seem to end in craters (but not quite) I had difficulty sketching the brightness range so used a little help from Iphoto to get the highlights back to how I saw them. Because of the amount of objects included, the sketch took longer than usual and some shadow lengths from one end of the sketch to the other would reflect the time difference. Just catching all the turns in Schroter’s Valley is very time consuming. As it was, I still couldn’t capture all that I saw. This was a most intimidating region to sketch.

Rimae Run Through It

Object Name: Petavius
Object Type: Lunar Crater
Location: Bristol, UK
Date: 24th Oct 2010
Media (graphite pencil sketch at the scope and then digitized using graphics tablet and Photoshop)
I usually sketch in some detail at the scope (mainly HB and 2B). I then scanned the result into Photoshop and used a Bamboo Pen graphics tablet to remaster the sketch. The final sketch was then “blurred” a touch to simulate the actual view which is never as sharp as I would like to see!)

Observational data: I use a Nexstar 8SE teamed with a Hyperion 8-24 mm zoom. Most of the sketch was at the 8mm stop and was drawn in good seeing conditions. The moon was 17 days old. I could see the circular crater formation of Petavius situated on the South bank of Mare Fecunditatis. The steep slope was rugged and contained a few craterlets. Wrottersley could be seen in the North-West (with a central peak) while Hase and Snellius could also be seen in the South. The main feature was the central mountain inside Petavius and the Rimae that ran from this to the crater wall. Very distinctive at the angle observed. Otherwise the floor was pretty flat. To the north I could see lines running way from the crater rim. The shadow obscured most the the craters to the East.
Hope you enjoy,

Clear Skies

Chris Lee

Ruined But Not Gone

It’s good to have dark skies returning again here in the North and a new season to look forward to.

I’ve always admired survivors, and on the moon Janssen has to count as one of the best; like a old warship that has taken hit after hit but refuses to sink. It’s classed as Pre-Nectarian, along with Brenner to its North, making it as old as solar system craters get. Metius, Lockyer and Steinheil however are later (Nectarian), and Fabricius later still (Eratosthenian). As well as the fun of picking out the subtle shadows of the rim of Jansen, there’s a curved (branched) rille to trace cutting its floor, which is one of the only highland rilles. Fabricius has two parallel mountain ridges on its floor. One can’t but wonder at the powerful forces that shaped this part of the moon billions of years ago.

Date and Location: 27th August 2010, York, UK; 21.30-22.30 UT.

Medium: Graphite pencil on white paper, sketched at the eyepiece.

Instrument: Skywatcher skyliner 152mm f8 Dobsonian, 10mmm ep with x2 Barlow.

Artist: Peter Mayhew

A Collapsed Lava Tube

2010 08 29, 0820 UT Rima Hyginus
PCW Memorial Observatory, OH, USA, Erika Rix
Zhumell 16”, 20mm TV, 5x Barlow, 450x mag, 13% T moon filter
Temp: 12.8C, >90% humidity, S: Antoniadi I
Sketch created scopeside with Rite in the Rain paper and charcoal.

Phase: 307.3°
Lunation: 19.38d
Illumination: 80.3%
Lib. Lat: -6°04’
Lib. Long: -6°03’
Az: 260°08’, Alt: 34°57’

Rima Hyginus: Linear Rille, 7° E, 7.5° N
Imbrian period (-3.8 billion yrs to –3.2 billion yrs)
Dimension: ~226 km, Height: unknown
Named after Caius Julius Hyginus, 2nd century BC Greek Astronomer

“The key to understanding the origin of Hyginus is probably the small
pit craters visible in the rille on the northwest (left) side of
Hyginus. These pits almost certainly formed by collapse of the roof over
a lava tube.”

A lot of the features were washed out surrounding the rille, but the
flat floor of Hyginus was evident as well as its irregular shape. I
could make out some of the pits to the northwest half of the rille and a
couple hints of the craterlets (or pits) to the southeast half. The
subtle variances in albedo were difficult to render, however,
interesting to observe. If I remember correctly, the dark patch to the
north of H consists of volcanic ash.

While searching for information on this rille, I came across yet another
amazing image from Wes Higgins. The pits Chuck Wood wrote about in the
article above are clearly shown.

Rukl plate 34
“The Modern Moon” by C. Wood pgs. 58-59

Erika Rix

On the plain at Hadley

Hadley Rille

Hadley Rille and Surroundings
By Peter Mayhew

For a lunar observer, seeking out the Apollo landing sites is an inevitable pilgrimage. The easiest, and most rewarding, site to locate is the Apollo 15 site at Hadley Rille on the edge of the Apennine mountains.

On the evening of 22nd April, the sky suddenly cleared just as I was about ready for bed, so I changed plans and took out the scope for a gaze at a crystal clear day 8 moon. Seeing was excellent, and lighting conditions were just right for picking out the Apollo 15 site features.

I tried hard to locate St George crater, which is on the tip of Mons Hadley Delta, was one of the Apollo 15 sampling site targets, and is visible in a small telescope, but I only got unsure brief suggestions of it; perhaps the sun angle wasn’t quite right for this. However I could see the rille itself easily, and several mountains and hills photographed by Scott and Irwin from the lunar surface, as well as Silver Spur, on the flank of Hadley Delta. The “x” marks the landing site.

For comparison, here are some links to photographs of these features taken from the surface.

Landing site panorama. Here Mons Hadley is on the left and Hadley Delta just right of centre.

Mons Hadley

Mons Hadley Delta

Silver Spur

Hadley Rille

Bennett Hill

Hill 305.

Object name: Hadley Rille, Mons Hadley, Mons Hadley Delta, Hadley C, Apollo 15 landing site.

Object type: Lunar rille, lunar crater, lunar mountains

Location: York, UK

Date: 22nd April 2010

Media: graphite pencil on white paper

Instrument: Skywatcher Skyliner 152mm f8 Dobsonian with 10mm e.p. and x2 Barlow.

Shield of confusion

Aristarchus Plateau

The Aristarchus plateau
Sketch and Details by Peter Mayhew
Hover cursor over sketch to view labels.

A lovely bright day 12 moon hung in the southern sky just before and after sunset. The terminator was just to the west of the Aristarchus plateau. Having saved and saved this for sketching for months, I gave in and did it. The clouds kept rolling across the moon interrupting me; first low thick stuff, and later high foggy stuff. But by 9.30pm I had got most of the visible features on paper. It wasn’t the best night for seeing, but was tolerable. The plateau is a volcanic shield about 200km square, in the North West of the Ocean of Storms. It breaks all sorts of lunar records; the brightest crater (Aristarchus), the longest sinuous rille (Vallis Schroteri), the most coloured spot “Wood’s spot” (the shield itself). Aristarchus itself appears bright white, especially the area to the east. Surrounding the ejecta slopes is a dark melt band, and then rays can be seen extending east, north and south. The crater itself has a central hill and a dark band surrounding that, as well as darker bands on the western crater wall. North-East is the ghost crater Prinz. Herodotus is an older, flooded crater, which seems on initial inspection to be the source of Schroter’s valley; the view is deceptive because of the notch in its northern wall and the dark surrounding land. The valley itself is sufficiently broad to distinguish either wall, and winds first north, then west and finally south, narrowing as it goes. The north-west of the shield is guarded by the long mountain chain Montes Agricola. Mons Herodotus lies to its south. The western area near the terminator is crossed by wrinkle ridges. The area is so complex that it was a real struggle to take in all the detail that was there: for this reason I’ve dubbed it the “shield of confusion”. I suspect another visit with better seeing conditions will bring out new features.

The sketch was graphite pencil on white paper, done at the eyepiece. Instrument: Skywatcher Skyliner 150mm f8 Dobsonian, 10mm e.p. plus x2 Barlow.

Rille with a Hook

Rille with a Hook

Rima Sirsalis
Sketch and Details by Peter Mayhew

Object Name: Rima Sirsalis
Object Type: Lunar Rille
Location: York, U.K.
Date: 31st October 2009
I used graphite pencil on white paper. My observing instrument was a
Skywatcher Skyliner 150mm f8 Dobsonian with a 10mm eyepiece and x2 Barlow.

Rille with a Hook

Labeled sketch of Rima Sirsalis
Sketch and Details by Peter Mayhew

I have just endured twenty days of grey cloud without sight of the
stars: it was almost unbearable. This came with unseasonal mild weather
for October for the UK. On 31st, there was a brief gap in the clouds at
20:00 UT and I got the scope out to look at the day 13 moon; I spent a
few minutes deciding whether to sketch Wargentin or Rima Sirsalis, and
as you can see decided on the latter. High cloud rolled in but I kept on
going, and managed a passable sketch in decreasing visibility as the sky
turned foggy. The terrain which the rille cuts through is fascinating;
from the Ocean of storms in the north (bottom) past craters Sirsalis and
Cruger A, and then on reaching De Vico A it makes a westward hook
towards Lamarck and Byrgius before petering out. The nearby craters
Darwin and Cruger make excellent background scenery. I include a
labelled version. The rille is 420km long and 5km wide.

The Beacon of Oceanus Procellarum

The Beacon of Oceanus Procellarum

Lunar craters Aristarchus, Herodotus, Vallis Schröter
Sketch and Details by Tamás Ábrahám


here is a sketch about Crater Aristarchus and Herodotus with Vallis Schröter.
The seeing was poor on this evening but the transparency was acceptable.

Date: October 30, 2009
Equipment: 8 inch f/5 Newtonian reflector with 4 mm SW Planetary eyepiece
Location: Zsámbék, Hungary
Technique: white paper, black pencil

Tamás Ábrahám

Ancient But Well Preserved


The Lunar crater Petavius

Sketch and Details by Frank McCabe

Crater Petavius

I have waited more than 2 years for conditions to be just right for re-sketching this magnificent crater. I got set up to observe under what looked to be hopeless circumstances. Although we have been under heavy cloud cover all week, the weather service forecasted clearing and as an added bonus my nearest “Clear Sky Chart” predicted the best possible seeing conditions until midnight. Both of these came true! Alas, heaven on earth.

Petavius crater (180 km.) is one of the best known and remarkable impact features on the lunar surface. It is a walled plain and floor fractured crater with impressive multiple central peaks (1.7 km), beautiful wall terraces, mare patches, volcanic ash regions, a raised floor and remarkable looking ramparts. In addition there is a special feature of this crater called Rimae Petavius. All three parts of this rille system could be seen clearly under the excellent seeing conditions that persisted during the entire observation. Connected to Petavius to the west is crater Wrottesley (57 km). South of Wrottesley the double rim of crater Petavius can be seen. There was so much detail visible in this area I could not hope to capture but a fraction of it.
Although Petavius is 3.8 billion years old it looks younger, stately and better preserved.


For this sketch I used: black Strathmore 400 Artagain paper, white and black Conte’
pastel pencils and a hard blending stump.
Telescope: 10 inch f/ 5.7 Dobsonian with 6mm (241x) and 4 mm (362x) eyepieces
Date: 5-29-2009 1:20-3:15 UT
Temperature: 13°C (55°F)
Clear, calm
Seeing: Antoniadi mostly I, [ the collapsed lava tube down the center of Vallis Alps would have been easy under the seeing conditions of this night ]
Colongitude 329.5 degrees
Lunation 4.5 days
Illumination 28%
Moon was at Perigee just 3 days ago

Frank McCabe

A Rupes and a Rima

Rupes Recta

Rupes Recta and Rima Birt
Sketch and Details by Balázs Benei


This is my other sketch, I made it at the beginning of April. Rupes Recta was very easy to observe, it was totally in the field of vision. Rimae Birt was not so easy but I could see it firmly. The seeing was very good at times, I could observ the crater Birt D, which had only 3km (~2miles) diameter. I think this was the end of the definition of my telescope. I made the sketch with graphite pencil.

My equipment: 110/800 (4′) Newtonian reflector, 2x barlow, 10mm eyepiece, 160x magnification.

Yours sincerely
Balázs Benei

Object name: Rupes Recta, Rimae Birt

Object type: Lunar rille, Lunar rimae

Location: Gyöngyös, Hungary

Date: 2009. 04. 04. 17:35 – 18:55 UT

Gorgeous Gassendi


Lunar crater Gassendi
Sketch and Details by Carlos E. Hernandez

I made an observation of Gassendi on April 6, 2009 (05:30 U.T.) using my 9-inch (23-cm) F/13.5 Maksutov-Cassegrain at 359x under steady (6-7/10) seeing conditions and transparent skies (4-5/6). Gassendi (17.5*S, 39.9*W) is a prominent walled-plain located over the northern edge of Mare Humorum measures approximately 68 miles (110 km) in diameter with a central group of peaks as high as 0.75 miles (1.2 km) high. A complex set of rilles are noted over the floor of Gassendi named Rimae Gassendi. The crater located over the northern edge of Gassendi is Gassendi A (~21 miles (33 km) diameter) with Gassendi B (~16 miles (26 km) diameter) to the north of A. Gassendi is estimated to be 3.6 billion (thousand million, +/- 700 million years) years of age. The rim of Gassendi rises as high as 1.5 miles (2.5 km) above the floor of the plain, especially the northwest rim. The central peaks of Gassendi were considered a potential landing site for the Apollo 17 mission to the Moon, but the Taurus-Littrow Valley was chosen instead.

A digital image produced using Photoshop CS3.


Webmaster’s note: I encourage everyone to go to the Cloudy Nights Sketching Forum to read Carlos’ step by step description about how he created this beautiful digital sketch.

A Humorum Aside


Lunar crater Gassendi on the shores of Mare Humorum
Sketch and Details by Richard Handy

One hundred and fourteen kilometers in diameter, filled with rilles and a rich variety of terrain, Nectarian era Gassendi sits on the northwestern shores of Mare Humorum in the South West Quadrant of the Moon. Gassendi is a great example of a FFC (Floor Fractured Crater). Why is it fractured? Well, the real lowdown on the rilles is that they are created by magma that finds its way to the surface through weaknesses and fissures in the breccia beneath Gassendi. As the magma fills these volumes, it pushes up on the material on the crater floor causing these characteristic fractures in the surface and in the process providing a vent for lavas. The really amazing thing was the number of rilles on the floor that were bifurcated, some seemly splitting at obtuse angles while others paralleled the rim. I could sense that there was a level of detail hidden by the seeing, a larger population of smaller rilles awaiting that moment of perfect clarity to reveal themselves. However with Antoniadi III as my average, it wasn’t going to be tonight. On the northwestern wall of Gassendi resting on its northwestern margin, much as Gassendi is to Humorum, is 33 km Copernican era, Gassendi A. Above and to the northwest is the 26 km flat floored Gassendi B. I wonder how much is floor fill is from his bigger and (younger?) brother to the south, the result of slow and steady mass wasting or a carpeting of material from a larger event. The whole area to the north and west of Gassendi seemed to be filled with these arcuate grooves. Towards the southern sunken rim of Gassendi, the northwest part of a Basin rim seemed elevated above the Mare as it rose to meet a collapsed section of Gassendi’s rim in the middle of the western outer wall. I could tell the area to the west of this arc had a different texture to the terrain, as if they were only partially submerged in the mare lavas. There were arcuate rilles here as well, paralleling the Basin. I hoped you all enjoyed this, I know I had a rille wonderful time sketching this one and sharing it with you.

Here are the sketch details:

Subject: Gassendi and environs Atlas: Rukl 52
Date: 9-3-06 Start time 4:20 UT Ending time: 5:56UT
Seeing: Antoniadi III with moments of II every 3-5 min, Weather: clear to partly cloudy
Lunation: 11.38 days Colongitude 46 deg Phase: 49.9 deg
Illumination: 82.2 % Lib. in Lat. : +6 deg 28 min Lib. in Long.: – 6 deg 53 min
Telescope: 12″ Meade SCT F10
Binoviewer: W.O. Bino-P with 1.6X Nosepiece
Eyepieces: W.O. 20mm WA Plossls
Magnification: 244X
Sketch medium: White and black Conte’ on Black textured Conte’ paper
Sketch size: 18″ x 24″

A Rima Runs Through It

Rima Ariadaeus

Rimae Agrippa
Sketch by Bognár Tamás

This beautiful sketch of Rima Ariadaeus was sent in by Bognár Tamás of Zakany Hungary. This rille, one of the most dramatic on the Moon, runs for a length of over 200 kilometers, cutting through hills and crater walls before vanishing into Mare Tranquillitatis.

Rimae Agrippa
Telescope: 3″ F/11 Newton and 7,5 mm Super Plossl eyepiece
Date: 02-13-2008 16:10 – 17:30 UT
Co-longitude: 354,5°
Observing Location: Zakany – Hungary, 46° 15′ N 16° 57’E elev.: 129m

The Cobra’s Head

Vallis Schroteri

Vallis Schroteri
Sketch by Serge Vieillard

Vallis Schröteri is the largest sinuous valley on the Moon. It makes its start at a 6 km diameter crater just north of Herodotus crater and widens to 10 km. This area is sometimes referred to as the Cobra’s head. It then winds 160 km and narrows to 500 m at it’s end. The rille is likely the result of volcanic activity as a lava flow carved its winding path through the landscape.

Lunar Clock Face

Petavius Crater

Petavius Crater
Sketch and Commentary by Carlos E. Hernandez

I made an observation of the crater Petavius and environs on July 31, 2007 (03:00-04:15 U.T.) using my 9-inch (23-cm) F/13.5 Maksutov-Cassegrain. Petavius (25.3*S, 60.4*E) measures 110 miles (177 km) in diameter containing a central mountain range, prominent rille (Rimae Petavius, (50 miles (80 km) in length) and ridges over it’s eastern and northern sections. Smaller rilles are also noted over it’s floor. Wrottesley (23.9*S, 56.8*E) is the crater noted along the western border of Petavius. The elongated crater to the east of Petavius is Palitzsch (28.0*S, 64.5*E) which measures ~25 miles (41 km) and appears half illuminated and half in shadow. Hase (29.4*S, 62.5*E) is a disintegrated crater that lies to the south of Petavius and measures ~52 miles (83 km). Several craters in shadow (with illuminated rims) appear towards the terminator.

The observation was made using graphite (4H to HB) then scanned into Photoshop and adjusted.

Links to Petavius;

Triesnecker and Rimae on the Shores of the Central Bay

Triesnecker and Rimae

Triesnecker and Rimae on the shores of the Central Bay
By Richard Handy

Sinus Medii or Central Bay, is aptly named for its relation to the geographic midpoint of the Moon (the point on the surface where the Earth would appear at the zenith at all times). On the northeastern shore of Sinus Medii lies the Copernican Period crater Triesnecker, the 26 km archetypical complex crater. Only hints of its distinguishing characteristics are apparent is my sketch because most of the crater’s inner walls are cloaked in shadow in this view, awaiting lunar sunrise to reveal their contours. The intense highlights off the scalloped western wall is the only evidence of considerable mass wasting that the crater has experienced. Hidden in this view is a floor whose entire western half is buried in wall debris. The deviation from circular (polygonal) form that Triesnecker displays is apparent all around the periphery of the crater. Terrace collapse has resulted in a reduction in floor depth and a annular ring of hills that are hidden from our view here. A mid morning Triesnecker sports a central peak and a small mare like area of what appears to be impact melt. The larger the crater the higher the peak, a product of the rebound energy of a surface that is impacted. Triesnecker sized craters lie at the lowest energy level necessary to produce central peaks, consequently the peak heights hover around 300 to 500 meters, large craters between 80 and 100 km have central peaks that average 2 km high. Immediately to the east, the complex rille network of Rimae Triesnecker dominates the right side of my sketch. Several things intrigue me in this area. Despite Triesnecker’s obvious superposition on top of these features, it seems amazing to me that these rilles survived being buried by its ejecta blanket. However this sketch is probably telling for what it does not reveal, filled in rilles which might be responsible the isolated rimae segments I’ve rendered here. The biggest mystery to me is why these rilles are located in this area of the Moon in the first place. Wilhelm suggested extensional forces. Perhaps Procellarum/Imbrium and Serenitatis/Tranquillitatis mascons are responsible for their appearance here, meaning these rilles are interpreted as grabens. A quick look to the northeast and we are amidst the obviously volcanic domain of the Hyginus crater and Rima. The surface elevation in this region has subsided and that may be due to extensional forces and subsequent outflows of mare lavas and terminal eruptive episodes

Here are the sketch details:

Subject: Triesnecker and Rimae Rukl: 33, 34
Date: 1-26-07 Started- 4:38 UT End- 5:55 UT
Seeing: Antoniadi III to IV Weather: Clear
Telescope: 12″ Meade SCT f/10
Binoviewer: W.O. Bino-P with 1.6X Nosepiece.
Eyepieces: W.O. WA 20mm Plossls
Barlow: 2X Televue Powermate
Magnification: 396X
Lunation: 7.03 days Phase: 86.8 deg Illumination: 52.8%
Colongitude: 359.7 deg Lib in Lat.: -4 deg 33 min Lib in Long.: +03 deg 35 min
Sketch medium: White and black Conte’ Crayons on black textured Strathmore paper.
Sketch size: 18″ x 24″.

Pardon My Hyperbole


Rima and Rupes Cauchy

Rima and Rupes Cauchy
By Rich Handy

Scanning the area to the west of the famous hyperbola shaped rille and rupes pair, I was pleasantly surprised to see each extending further in that direction (Rupes and Rima Cauchy become faint rilles) and passing by some of the most interesting pyroclastic deposits, lunar domes and cinder cones I’ve ever seen on the lunar surface. Each extend further in the eastern direction as well. Unfortunately I’d need two large sheets to sketch this area in the kind of detail it deserves, so I settled for this somewhat smaller vista. Check out Chuck Wood’s “The Modern Moon” page 88 and 89 for an excellent overview of this exciting area and Rukl Atlas Plates 36 and 37 for a detailed view of this amazing area. Rima Cauchy is just to the north of Cauchy, a 14 km, bowl shaped Copernican era crater that sits amidst the eastern Sea of Tranquility and pretty close to Sinus Concordiae, the mare area that tapers off to the north. To the south is Rupes Cauchy, its wall brightly lit in the the last rays of the late lunar afternoon. Immediately to the south of the Rupes were the two domes, Cauchy Tau to the west (right) and Cauchy Omega to the east. I noted the central peak on Omega with no problem, a testament to the kind of seeing I was blessed with last night. Though I couldn’t say with absolute certainty, there seemed to be two “Arago-like” domes below 12 km Eratosthenian aged Zahringer near the smaller 11 km Taruntius F.

Next time you are observing this area, take some time to visit this rare fault and rille and it’s terribly interesting environment. It may sound like hyperbola, but I’m not exaggerating, this place is lunie dreamland!

Here are the sketch details:

Subject: Rima and Rupes Cauchy and environs Rukl: 36,37
Date: 9-10/11-06 Started: 6:40 UT End: 8:24 UT
Seeing: Antoniadi I-II Weather: Clear most of session then fog late.
Telescope: 12″ Meade SCT F10
Binoviewer: W.O. Bino-P with 1.6X Nosepiece.
Eyepieces: W.O. WA 20mm Plossls
Magnification: 244X
Lunation: 18.48 days Phase: 311.1 deg Illumination: 82.9%
Colongitude: 133.7 deg Lib in Lat.: -3 deg 53 min Lib in Long.: +5 deg 12 min
Sketch medium: White and black Conte’ Crayons on black textured Strathmore paper.
Sketch size: 18″ x 24″

Raised, Tilted and polygonal

Aristarchus Plateau

The Aristarchus Plateau
By Frank McCabe

The Aristarchus Plateau
  The 3.6 billion year old Aristarchus plateau is a raised, tilted polygonal block
of crust in the ocean of storms with a collection of interesting features that can
be seen with telescopes of all sizes. Crater Aristarchus left of center is a large
(41 km.) 3.2 km. deep crater that is bright, young (500 million years old) and
sits near the SE edge of the plateau.  Lunar Prospector spacecraft back in 1998-99
detected radon gas being released from this region. The Space Telescope Science
Institute along with Northwestern University and others conducted an ultraviolet
and visible light analysis using the Hubble telescope to detect the presence of
titanium oxide near crater Aristarchus. This could be a potential source of oxygen
on the lunar surface and also a source of titanium metal.
   I remember well my disappointment when Apollo 18, 19 and 20 were cancelled in
1970. Apollo 18 was scheduled to land on the Aristarchus plateau near Schroter
valley. Schroter valley is an old Imbrium (3.5 billion years old) volcanic
feature that begins at the famous cobra head 25 km. north of ancient crater
Herodotus. This feature meanders north then west then southwest for more than 150
km. The bend is nearly 170 degrees. It is also large enough to be seen in a 2
inch telescope under conditions of good seeing.
  The region surrounding the beginning of Schroter valley was carefully imaged March
3rd and April 27th in 1994 by Clementine spacecraft because of reported color
changes. Clementine confirmed these changes were real. This region of the moon
shows color visible to some observers. It is described as reddish or yellowish by
those that can see this color.
  Don’t think of the moon as an annoyance that spoils galaxy hunting as some deep
sky enthusiasts sometimes do, but embrace it as the beautiful satellite it is,
awaiting observation and exploration.  
  Graphite pencil, pen and ink sketch on copy paper 8.5”x11”
  Date: 1-2-2007 1:50 to 3:45 UT
  Temperature: -1.2 °C (30° F)
  Calm, seeing good for this part of Illinois
  Antoniadi mostly IV briefly III
  13.1 inch f / 5.9 Dobsonian 6mm ortho ocular 327X
  Colongitude: 66.8°
  Lunation: 12.5 days
  Illumination: 97%

Petavius Yet Again

Petavius crater

Evening and Morning Light on the Crater Petavius
By Frank McCabe

  On the 6th day of March 2007, I sketched crater Petavius in the evening light
close to the time of sunset at Petavius. This large rather circular floor
fractured crater appeared elongated and ellipsoidal because of its proximity to
the limb and in a somewhat unfavorable libration. I was hoping on Wednesday
evening during the next lunation to catch the crater again just after sunrise but
I was thwarted by clouds and rain 16 days after the first drawing. However the
next evening had some breaks in the cloud cover before the rains reappeared and I
was able to sketch Petavius in the lunar morning sunlight and also at a more
favorable libration which explains its more circular appearance. Upon completion
of the second drawing I rotated and resized it using Microsoft paint and placed it
with the earlier sketch. Seeing the same features in the morning and evening light
adds to the endless enjoyment of lunar observing any time during a lunation or
between lunations as occurred here. The March 6th sketch (evening at the crater)
was posted at this site March 17, 2007. The March 23rd sketch (morning at the crater)
made 17 days later is posted second. I used the same telescope and eyepiece to
sketch both drawings.

Sketching: 1st Sketch
For this sketch I used: black Strathmore 400 Artagain paper, white and black Conte’
pastel pencils and a soft blending stump.
Telesccope: 10 inch f/ 5.7 Dobsonian and 6 mm eyepiece
Date: 3-6-2007 2:45-3:30 UT
Temperature: -6°C (21°F)
Clear, calm
Seeing: Antoniadi IV
Colongitude 113.5°
Lunation 16.5 days
Illumination 95%
  Sketching: 2nd Sketch
For this sketch I used: black Strathmore 400 Artagain paper, white and black Conte’
pastel pencils and a soft blending stump.
Telesccope: 10 inch f/ 5.7 Dobsonian and 6 mm eyepiece
Date: 3-23-2007 1:10-2:20 UT
Temperature: 17°C (62°F)
Partly and at times mostly cloudy, variable winds
Seeing: Antoniadi III- IV
Colongitude 320°
Lunation 4 days
Illumination 22 %
  Frank McCabe

Semiannual Lunar Ritual

Vallis Schröteri

Vallis Schröteri and environs
By Jeremy Perez

And so, in the spirit of completing one Lunar sketch and observation every 6 months or so, I present Vallis Schröteri. On the night I made this observation, I was very impressed by the rugged terrain in the vicinity of this sinuous rille. The whole area looked like a badly skinned knee in merciful shades of gray. Although Vallis Schröteri was the celebrity, a few other features played staring roles. Mons Herodotus shone brilliantly while the craters Herodotus and Aristarchus stared out like spectacled eyes with the teardrop of Väisälä glistening on the burnished cheek of a nearby highland. Further to the north, Montes Agricola embraced the region like the tip of a rattlesnake’s tail.

There was so much to observe and sketch, I couldn’t possibly capture it all. I did learn from my previous attempts at white on black Conté sketching and went for a larger illustration. This sketch was prepared on a 9″ x 12″ sheet of black Canson Mi Tientes pastel paper. I used a blending stump to smooth the pastel where appropriate and to build up brighter tones. The brightest rims are straight attacks with the Conté pencil. The sketch took about 45 minutes at the eyepiece with another 15 minutes of additional touch-up indoors. White on black sketching is really a great way to tackle the moon–especially the terminator. I hope to keep working at it when time permits. I’ll still be using pencil and charcoal, but it’s nice to have this method accessible when I want it.

Object Information:

Vallis Schröteri is the largest sinuous valley on the Moon. Although hidden in shadow in my sketch, this valley makes its start at a 6 km diameter crater just north of Herodotus crater and widens to 10 km. This area is sometimes referred to as the Cobra’s head. It then winds 160 km and narrows to 500 m at it’s end. The rille is likely the result of volcanic activity as a lava flow carved its winding path through the landscape. Aristarchus is a remarkably bright crater with a pronounced ray system. It is 40 km in diameter and is believed to be a relatively young 450 million years old.

Subject Vallis Schröteri and Surroundings
Classification Sinuous Valley, Craters and Mountains
Position West
Phase/Age 11.7 Days
Size* Vallis Schröteri: 160 km length x 1000 m depth (max)
Herodotus: 35 km dia
Aristarchus: 40 km dia x 3000 m depth
Väisälä: 8 km dia
Dorsum Niggli: 50 km length
Montes Agricola: 160 km length
Mons Herodotus: 5 km dia
Date/Time April 28, 2007, 10:00 PM MST (April 29, 2007, 05:00 UT)
Observing Loc. Flagstaff, AZ – Home
Instrument Orion SVP 6LT Reflector (150 mm dia./1200 mm F/L)
Eyepieces/Mag. 10 mm + 2X Barlow (240X)
Conditions Partly cloudy, calm
Seeing Ant. III
Sources Atlas of the Moon by Antonín Rükl 2004; Observing the Moon by Gerald North 2000.
* Based on published data.

Sunken Yet Uplifted

Lunar crater Posidonius

The lunar crater Posidonius
By Frank McCabe

Posidonius on the Eastern Shore of the Sea of Serenity
  On this cold morning in early December the most eye-catching crater resting on the
concave sloping rim of Mare Serenitatis was 96 kilometer diameter Posidonius. The
Posidonius cratering event likely occurred 150 thousand years or more after
Serenitatis formed a ring basin. The subsequent floor uplift and fracturing within
Posidonius created a large angular block and ridge margin that you can see arching
parallel along and just inside the outer eastern crater rim. At 17.5 days into the
lunation, the floor of Posidonius appeared much brighter than the dark margin lava
of Serenity. Eleven kilometer crater A near the center of Posidinius was clearly
visible in the poor seeing as were craters B, J, and M arching out from the rim to
the north. Beyond these craters encircled  by the Lake of Dreams is 25 by 30 km.
oval “island crater” Daniell, formed by a shallow angle impact before the greater
Posidonius event took place. South from Posidonius and again along the shore of
Serenity is the 63 km. flooded crater LeMonnier. Nearly all of the west rim of this
tilted crater and its floor are covered by the dark margin lava of the Sea of
  2H graphite pencil on 5 x 8 inch index card
  Date: 12-8-2006 11:30 to 12:15 UT
  Temperature: -14 °C (6° F)
  clear, cold winds
  Pickering scale: 3/10
  10 inch f / 5.7 Dobsonian  161X
  Lunation: 17.6 days
  Illumination: 86.3 %         
  Frank McCabe

A Tranquil and Serene Tapestry

Mare Serenatatis and Tranquillatis

Mare Serenitatis and Mare Tranquillitatis
By Giorgio Bonacorsi

 Hello, my name is Giorgio Bonacorsi, I live in little town named Pergola, in Marche, center Italy. My night sky is good, I live near mountain Catria(1702m). My observation site are at 3-4 minutes from home and are at 400-500 m of altitude. I go there for my sketches of galaxy and other object of deep sky,but also behind my home I have a good sky, principally for Moon, planets and comets. My instruments are: Newtonian telescope 15cm 750f, acromatic80/1000, maksutov-cassegrain 110/1035, 16×80 binocular.

Approaching Sunset at Posidonius Crater

Posidonius Crater 

  On this night I watched the sunset terminator move slowly toward ring-plain crater
Posidonius while I sketched the crater and nearby features on the floor of 750 km.
diameter Mare Serenitatis. Posidonius (99km.) is an old upper Imbrian era impact
reminant. Its age is betrayed by the way shadows penetrate the rim at numerous
points as the sun continued to set. The highest part of the rim is on the
terminator side of this crater. Sunlight was still reaching part of Posidonius A
and two other high points on ridges including one on the inner ring. Beyond this
crater to the west and south the great serpentine ridge could be seen in best
light. This ridge is made up of dorsa Smirnov and dorsa Lister just north of
crater Plinius (44 km.). Smaller and younger crater Dawes (19km.) could be seen
casting a shadow eastward which was growing in length throughout the sketch
  2H graphite pencil, black felt tip marker on white copy paper, gum eraser
  Date: 12-10-2006 8:05 to 8:40 UT
  10 inch f / 5.7 Dobsonian 9mm ortho ocular 161X
  Temperature: 3°C (37° F)
  Clear, calm
  Antoniadi: III-IV
  Colongitude: 150.1°
  Lunation: 19.4 days
  Illumination: 71.2 %         
  Frank McCabe

Janssen and Fabricius in the Lunar Southeast

Janssen and Fabricius 

 Janssen at 195 kilometers in diameter is a large ancient (4 billion year old)
walled plain crater in the southeastern highlands and is not far from the lunar
limb. Relentless moonquakes and solar system debris impacts have given this crater
its old look. The floor of Janssen is covered by numerous smaller craters. Without
trying too hard I could see 20 crater including those down to a few kilometers in
diameter. The center of the crater appears to bulge higher than the worn rim. Much
of this could be debris from the large much younger impact crater Fabricius (79
km.).  Fabricius is an Eratosthenian period impact crater. It clearly shows steep
sloping walls and exhibits a central mountain range that is about 11 km. long and
also a long central ridge that is more than twice that length. Geologists tell us
that much of the debris across the floor of Janssen is Nectaris impact ejecta;
fluidized where the floor is smooth and irregular boulder-like where the floor
appears  tortured. But perhaps the most interesting feature here is 140 kilometer long Rimae
Janssen. This rille looking like a graben, where it cuts through the high central
region south of Fabricius. It then narrows suddenly before reaching the rim in the
relatively smooth region of the floor. Pits that are visible via high resolution
images in these narrow regions imply volcanism. There is at least one dome on the
floor of Janssen but I was not successful in spotting it in the current
illumination. Craters Janssen and Fabricius presented fascinating features to
examine during this observation.
  For this sketch I used: black Strathmore 400 Artagain paper, 7”x11”, white and
  black Conte’ pastel pencils and a blending stump. Brightness was slightly decreased after
  Telescope: 10 inch f/ 5.7 Dobsonian and 6mm eyepiece 241x
  Date: 9-29-2007 6:15-7:15 UT
  Temperature: 16°C (60°F)
  Clear, calm
  Seeing:  Antoniadi III
  Co longitude: 122.1°
  Lunation:  17.73 days
  Illumination:  91.4 %
  Frank McCabe

A Lunar Favorite


Gassendi Crater, a Lunar Favorite
  Protruding inside the northern rim of the sea of moisture is the large floor
fractured crater Gassendi. If you close your eyes and try to picture in your mind
a large lunar crater, the image may look something like Gassendi. The 114 km.
walled plain crater is shallow as a result of lava upwelling across the floor
especially toward the east where the highest concentrations of floor fractures are
crisscrossing.  The shallow south end is tipped facing the center of Mare Humorum.
The northern end of the crater floor is rubble strewn and hummocky. The eastern
floor sports ridges and small craters in addition to rilles which were clearly
visible in the good seeing of the evening. The southern floor has an irregular
ridge that is parallel to the low rim. The large central peaks (1.2km. high) and
several smaller ones were seen in good relief with sharp black shadows. The deep
crater Gassendi A on the north rim of the larger Gassendi contrasted nicely with
respect to depth.
 Shallower and smaller Gassendi B was just north-north-west of A. The rough
highlands around Rimae Mersenius were visible to the west of these three craters
and low hills in the Herigonius region could be seen to the east of Gassendi. Mare
Humorum is estimated to be 3.9 billion years old and Gassendi perhaps 100 million
years younger. If Apollo 17 planners had chosen Gassendi as the last lunar landing
site we would likely know the ages today.
  For this sketch I used: black Strathmore 400 Artagain paper, 9”x12”, white and
black Conte’ pastel pencils and a blending stump. Brightness was slightly
decreased after scanning.
  Telescope: 10 inch f/ 5.7 Dobsonian 6mm eyepiece 241x
  Date: 9-23-2007 2:05-3:15 UT
  Temperature: 17°C (62°F)
  Clear, calm
  Seeing:  Antoniadi II
  Co longitude: 47.5°
  Lunation:  11.6 days
  Illumination: 82.7 %
  Frank McCabe

A Birthday Tribute

Hadley Rille 

On August 5th 1971 the Astronauts of Apollo 15, David Scott, James Irwin, and
Alfred Worden were coming home. It was the 11th day of the mission, and the 2nd day
of their voyage back to Earth after a successful mission to the lunar surface.

 Six days earlier on July 30th, Apollo 15 Commander David Scott and Lunar Module
(LM) pilot James Irwin had landed in the Rima Hadley/Montes Apenninus region of the
Moon in the Lunar Module Falcon. “OK, Houston. The Falcon is on the Plain at
Hadley.”, said David Scott upon touchdown. The Command and Service Module (CSM)
pilot, Alfred Worden continued in lunar orbit in the CSM Endeavour and conducted
scientific experiments. While on the lunar surface, Scott and Irwin made three
moonwalk Extra Vehicular Activities (EVAs), becoming the 7th and 8th men to walk on
the Moon. During the EVAs which totalled 18 hours, 35 minutes, they covered 27.9
km, and collected 76.8 kg of rock and soil samples. They also took photographs, set
up the Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package (ALSEP), and performed other
scientific experiments. This time the Astronauts didn’t just walk on the Moon, for
this was the first mission to employ the Lunar Roving Vehicle. Scott and Irwin used
the Rover to
 explore regions within 5 km of the LM landing site. After the final EVA, David
Scott performed a televised demonstration of a hammer and feather falling at the
same rate in the lunar vacuum.

 The LM lifted off from the Moon on August 2nd after 66 hours, 55 minutes on the
lunar surface. Once the Falcon docked with Endeavor, the lunar samples and other
equipment were transferred from the LM and it was jettisoned after a one orbit

 The LM Falcon impacted the Moon on August 3rd, 93 km west of the Apollo 15 ALSEP
site. It had an estimated impact velocity of 1.7 km per second.
 On August 4th, after Apollo 15 underwent an orbit-shaping maneuver, a scientific
subsatellite was spring-launched from the Scientific Instrument Module (SIM) bay
into lunar orbit. The Apollo 15 crew began the transearth injection on the next
orbit which started their long journey home.

 The next day, August 5th, Alfred Worden stepped into the black vacuum 196,000 miles
from the earth to become the first man ever to take a floating excursion outside
his craft in interplanetary space. The Apollo 15 astronauts, in prearranged
collaboration with Soviet and Dutch astronomers, were trying to observe what some
scientists suspect are “black holes” in the sky.

 Meanwhile, back on Earth, Niel Armstrong was celebrating his 41st birthday. In
Houston not too far from Mission Control, Credence Clearwater Revival was jamming
at the Coliseum . Across the Atlantic Ocean in Munich Germany, An American Soldier
and his wife (Justin and Janet Aldridge) were celebrating the birth of their first
child. They named him Jason.

 Two days later on August 7th, the Apollo 15 Astronauts splashed down in the Pacific
Ocean, 330 miles north of Honolulu, Hawaii and 6.1 mi from the recovery ship USS
Okinawa. 16 months later, Apollo 17 Commander Eugene Cernan would be the last man
to walk on the Moon.

 A child of Apollo, Jason would grow up with dreams of traveling to the Moon. He saw
the color photographs of Mars that returned from the Viking Missions, and he knew
that someday he would visit Mars as well. He watched as the Voyager spacecraft flew
past Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune, and he knew that Man would explore the
solar system and beyond in his lifetime.

 Today I am 36 years old. The dreams I had as a child are all but a fond memory now.
No Human has been back to the Moon, and there have been no manned missions beyond
Earths orbit. NASA plans to return to the Moon by 2018, almost 50 years after Niel
Armstrong first set foot there. I think my feelings about this matter are best
described in the words of Apollo 15 Commander, David R Scott:

 “As I stand out here in the wonders of the unknown at Hadley, I sort of realize
there’s a fundamental truth to our nature, Man must explore . . . and this is
exploration at its greatest.”

 I would like to dedicate this lunar sketch to the brave men of Apollo 15, David R
Scott, James B Irwin, and Alfred M Worden. I am honored to have been born during
their historic mission. 

 Jason Aldridge

PS: Happy Birthday Niel Armstrong!

*Sources: NASA NSSDC Master Catalog Display: Spacecraft, Apollo Flight Journal, New
York Times articles from 8/6/1971, Credance Clearwater Revival official web site.

Sketching Materials: 0.5mm Mechanical Graphite Pencil, Strathmore Windpower Sketch
Paper, MGI Photosuite III software for post processing.