Lunar Crater Copernicus

Lunar crater Copernicus - November 3, 2014
Lunar crater Copernicus – November 3, 2014

Lunar Crater Copernicus

Across the Carpathian Mountains resting on the eastern Ocean of Storms is the
landmark crater of the Sea of Islands, mighty Copernicus. Copernicus is a 95
kilometer diameter complex crater that begins to show itself in all its majesty
two days past first quarter. During the time of “Snow-Ball Earth” 800 million
years ago the event that created Copernicus suddenly occurred. What remains is a
3.8 kilometer deep hummock covered flat floored, centrally peaked, terrace walled
spectacular sentinel. Especially during high sun the bright ray system of this
crater can be seen extending from the base of the glassy glacis in all directions.
The descent from the rampart to the mare floor below is about one kilometer. Three
of five peaks were clearly visible in morning sunlight. In 1999 the Clementine
near infrared camera detected magnesium iron silicates in the peaks indicating
rebound of this deep rock through the surface crust following the impact event.
To view this impressive crater all you need is a good pair of binoculars and an
opportunity between two days past first quarter and one day past last quarter.
Weather permitting, you can see it tonight.


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

Telescope: 13.1 inch f/5.9 Dobsonian and 9mm eyepiece 218x
Date: 11-03-2014, 00:45 – 02:10 UT
Temperature: 0°C (32°F)
clear, calm
Seeing: Antoniadi III
Co longitude: 23.2°
Lunation: 8.9 days
Illumination: 69.3 %
Phase: 67.4°

Frank McCabe

14.16-day-old Moon

Gibbous Moon - February 14, 2014
Gibbous Moon – February 14, 2014

I’ve been doing a study on lunar phases and this is my latest sketch. This is a photo of it from last night after wrapping up my observing session. No adjustments have been made to the sketch other than cropping the lower blank portion of the paper.

My phase sketches used to take close to two hours to complete at the eyepiece. I’ve been building up my endurance to 3-4 hours for a single sketch to include more detail. Obviously, the terminator is drawn first to “freeze” the time stamp on the phase. Then I work my way across the disk at a more leisurely pace, moving my observing chair and stool gradually as the session progresses.

I used a 102mm f/9.8 refractor on an LXD75 mount, 20mm eyepiece setting on my Hyperion zoom, and a 13% T Moon filter to help with contrast. The media is black Strathmore Artagain paper (60 lb., 160 g/m2), white charcoal pencil, black charcoal pencil, white Conte’ crayon, white Conte’ pastel pencil, black Conte’ color pencil,and a blending stump for the maria. I used a circular 6-inch protractor to outline the lunar disk.

Total eyepiece/sketch time is just over four hours on this one.

Best regards,
Erika Rix
Texas, USA

Plato, Archimedes and Environs

Plato, Archimedes and Environs
Plato, Archimedes and Environs

Plato and Archimedes craters
Lunar craters
Eastbourne, UK
28th Aug 2013, 01:15 – 03:15 UT. Temperature 12C
Meade LX90 8″ Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope with 26mm super Plossl eyepiece, 77x
White and black pastel on Daler Rowney Canford black paper

As a little summer holiday project I made a pledge to myself to sketch lunar craters at every opportunity, casually assuming that the usual poor British summer weather would make this an easy commitment to keep. However, I have been kept busy over the last couple of weeks!

I have been inspired by the quality of the sketches on your website and as you can see I am still some way off those standards; however, I am pleased to see (I think) some improvement in my efforts. I sketched this at the eyepiece using the pastels and just my finger as a blending tool.

Yours faithfully,

Oli Froom

Almost Full Moon

Moon - March 25, 2013
Moon – March 25, 2013

Today’s sketch-“almost full” and a bit misted Moon. 🙂
TelescopeCapella 41cm + UWA SW 22mm, sketched in pencil, using “my favorite technique of intentional negative” and then inversionof the sketch!

Yours Robert

Sketch details:
Object Name: Almost full Moon.
Object Type: Moon.
Location: Poland, Oborniki
Date: 25-03-2013
Equipment: Newtonian telescope 409/1800 (Capella 41), and 22 mm eyepieces
Object: – Artist: Robert Twarogal (Ignisdei)

Waxing Gibbous Moon

Waxing Gibbous Moon
Waxing Gibbous Moon

Object Name Moon
Object Type Planet
Location Valencia (Spain)
Date 27th november 2012
Media: graphite pencil and white paper

Dear reader,

Finally the clouds have gone so I tried to get a nice view of the moon. It was also a photo session so after finishing the previous sketch I took a picture that it was useful to catch many details from the moon. This is my first drawing objetct and it was a pleasure to work with this amazing object day after day.

El cosmos de Tajeiro

I Hope you like.

Astronomy Camp – Daylight Moon

Lunar Projection Sketch
Lunar Projection Sketch

The L.C. Bates Museum in Hinckley, Maine received a NASA SOI (Summer of Inquiry) Grant this summer, and astronomy camp was held this past week. Twelve campers, age eight to twelve, observed the sun’s photosphere (whitelight) and chromosphere (h-alpha), put together a Gallileoscope, flew a 5′ tall Montgolfier-inspired hot-air balloon, constructed Alexander-Graham-Bell-type tetrahedron-cell kites (flying machines), learned how to measure a celestial object’s altitude and azimuth, and made the attached drawing after a daytime observation of our moon. The sketch was made from a projected image of our daylight observation.

Submmitted by John Stetson

Classic Crater

Hi all,

My original intension when I selected the crater Copernicus was to have the terminator line very close to it. I didn’t get my timing right by a long shot! Instead, it was closer to a Lunar mid-day, making the shadows very short.

I was hesitant to sketch it, having my expectations dashed, and took an hour before I decided “What the heck! Just do it”.

Conditions were quite good for Sydney. At the best of times, using 222X is barely useable, giving only fleeting moments of clarity. This night was more good than poor! And an added bonus, NO DEW!

This is the first time I’ve used charcoal and soft pastels to do such a finely detailed sketch. It took a little getting used to, but what I really like about this materials is you can build up the layers to achieve the result you want. I found them very forgiving, unlike the cold.

Two hours, a pot of tea to keep the cold at bay, and a gorgeous orange tube C8, and this is the result.

Object: crater Copernicus
Scope: Orange tube C8
Gear: 9mm TMB Planetary Type II, 222X, + two polarizing filters
Date: 14’th May, 2011
Location: Sydney, Australia
Conditions: Fair
Media: Black & white charcoal pencils, grey soft pastel pencil, and white ink on black paper, A5 size.


Alex M.

Ten Minute Tycho

Object name: Lunar crater Tycho and rays

Object Type: Lunar crater, rays

Location: York, UK

Date: 18th March 2011

Time: 20.30-20.40 UT

Media: graphite pencil, white paper

Instrument: Skywatcher Skyliner 152mm f8 Dobsonian, 25mm e.p.

As I took in the beauty of the full moon at perigee, I noticed a small black object zip across the face of the moon. I thought I’d probably seen a satellite, but, a minute or two later I saw another one, and then another one, and then another, and they were definitely birds. They were all travelling in the same direction: North. After waiting about half an hour and seeing about twenty of them, and trying to take in the jizz of the form, the best I could do was narrow them down to swallows and martins. Do they migrate at night? Well, if so, this was a unique way to see my first hirundines of the year.

Seeing was very wobbly, preventing me from using high powers on the scope, so I eased back into low power and sketched the crater Tycho and its rays, which you can also see with the naked eye as they splat half way across the face of the full moon. I like sketching fast; it forces me to find the key features first. Tycho itself is not huge as lunar craters go, but it’s visible because it’s young and its rays have not yet eroded away. It’s estimated to be about 100 million years old which means that some dinosaurs and mammals probably saw it hit; it must have been spectacular.

The crater is named after Tycho Brahe, one of my heros. His accurate measurements of the stars and planets led to the later discovery, by Kepler, that the planets move in elliptical orbits around the sun, which in turn is the basis of universal gravitation. It’s not an exaggeration to say that Tycho paved the way for our modern understanding of the universe. And he has a rather beautiful crater named after him too.

One of the things that I spotted for the first time was that there are fewer bright rays pointing west (top in the picture), suggesting that the impactor that formed Tycho came in from that direction.

Craters Kepler and Enke

Craters Kepler and Encke
At nearly 11 days into the current lunation sunrise has just finished for the rim of crater
Kepler. Even during this early morning view, some of the brightest rays of this crater were seen radiating eastward from the ramparts on that side. Kepler is a 31 kilometer diameter complex crater with a low central peak and a flat debris covered floor from inner wall slumping. As I saw it during the time of this sketch, the floor was in complete darkness and had the perception of great depth. Crater Kepler lies between the Oceanus Procellarum and the Mare Insularum both of which consist of dark surface lavas.

The Jesuit astronomer Giovanni Battista Riccioli named Crater Kepler about 28 years after the death of Johannes Kepler. He also named Crater Tycho after Tycho Brahe, the man with the accurate data measurements that helped make Kepler famous for his three laws of planetary motion.

I was hoping to include Rima Milichius in this sketch but the seeing was so poor I never saw a hint of it even at its widest part that would have been located in the lower left corner of the sketch. The other crater captured in this sketch is 1 kilometer smaller in diameter and 3 times older than Kepler. This is crater Encke named after 19th century German astronomer Johann Franz Encke. The rubble-covered floor of this crater was well illuminated because of its greater distance from the terminator and much shallower depth.

Sketching and Equipment:

For this sketch, I used black Strathmore 400 Artagain paper 9” x 12”, white and
 black Conte’ pastel pencils and blending stumps.
 Telesccope: 13.1 inch f/6 Dobsonian and 9 mm eyepiece (222x) riding on an equatorial platform
 Date: 2-14-2011, 00:30-02:00 UT
Temperature: 4° C (40° F)
 Partly cloudy, very windy
 Seeing:  Very poor – Antoniadi  IV-V
 Colongitude  39.8 °
 Lunation 10.9 days
 Illumination 96.7 %

Frank McCabe

A Near Full Moon Study

Hi all,

Tonight we had one of the clearest nights for a long time here in Sydney, and I wasn’t about to let a near full Moon spoil the occasion! So I pulled out my easy to set up 8” dob, and made this quick sketch over the next hour. Since this scope is an f/4, I used my 30 year old RKE eyepiece to give me the best low power image available to me. OH, how I love this eyepiece!

I even had a nice surprise too. For one very brief moment, a satellite crossed through my field of view. It’s happened many times to me, BUT this one happened across the disk of the Moon!! At first I thought it was a balloon, but then it occurred to me “since when does a balloon have spiky bits hanging off it?!!!”

Scope: 8” f/4 newtonian, dob mounted
Eyepiece: Edmund Scientific RKE 28mm, 29X
Filters: 2 polarizing filters
Media: China graph & graphite pencils on black paper.

Clear skies,

Alex M

Progressive Moon

Object Name: Moon
Object Type: moon
Location: São Bernardo do Campo – SP – Brazil
Date: (5 nights – 2010)
Media: 0.5mm mechanical pencil on white paper
Instrument: binoculars Celestron UpClose 10×50 Wide Angle (7º)

Additional information:
The millions of lights from a huge metropolis (more than 20 million people) added to the heavy pollution do affect the sky observation. However, I found out an astonishing Moon through my binoculars, and whenever the sky was clear, I sketched it. I’ve done it from my apartment, fourth floor, through the window. The purpose was to register the position of the terminator, and how some features (specially the seas and Tyco crater) change their appearance according to the incidence of the sunlight. In this sketch we can also notice that there’s no “dark side of the moon”, in fact there’s a “hidden side of the moon”.
I can barely wait for my next vacations in order to go to Itajobi, on countryside, to keep observing under dark skies.
Clear skies to all.

Rodrigo Pasiani Costa

Waning Moon High in the East

Waning Moon High in the East

On the night of September 27-28, 2010, I witnessed the rising gibbous moon paired with the Pleiades near the northeastern horizon. By placing my thumb over the moon the seven sisters were clearly visible further to the north. Together they began their march across the sky after 9pm local time.
After I finished some indoor chores I returned to the telescope and set up to do some sketching.
Initially I considered sketching both of them together but soon changed my mind to go after just the moon. I spend about two hours recording as much as I could see before fatigue began forcing me to erase with greater frequency. This is my lunar sketching result.


For this sketch I used black sketching paper 9″ x 12″, white and black Conte’ pastel pencils, blending stumps, a gum eraser and brush. Brightness was slightly increased (+1) using the scanner

Scope 4.25″ f/5 Newtonian scope at 45x

Date: 9-28-2010, 1:00-3:00 local time
Temperature: 14° C (58° F)
clear, calm
Seeing: Antoniadi III
Colongitude: 151.6 °
Lunation: 20 days
Illumination: 78.3% Waning Gibbous

Frank McCabe

Waning Crescent Moon in Early Twilight

Waning Crescent Moon in Early Twilight

I was up early on this morning getting a look at some of the winter stars and witnessed a beautiful 25 day old waning moon. The earthshine was poor but after a look through a small Newtonian scope I decided to make a quick 40 minute sketch. It was a fine view.

For this sketch I used black construction paper 9″ x 12″, white and black Conte’ pastel pencils, blending stumps, a gum eraser and brush. Brightness was slightly increased (+1) using the scanner

Scope 2.5” f/10 Newtonian scope at 25x

Date: 9-4-2010, 10:00-10:40 UT
Temperature: 16° C (60° F)
clear, calm
Seeing: Antoniadi III
Colongitude: 220.2 °
Lunation: 25.3 days
Illumination: 22.1% Waning Crescent

Frank McCabe

Pastel Moon

Full Moon
By Krzysztof Pieszczoch


I was waiting on this full Moon. It was my first experience with pastel crayon. I like sketching through the binocular 🙂

Object name: Moon
Object type: Moon
Location: Tarnów , Poland
Date: 27 May 2010 r.
Time: 21:30 UT
Artist: Krzysztof Pieszczoch (Astrokrzychu)
Equipment used: Binocular 16X50 (2″) FOV 4,25 deg. and 7X50 FOV 7,5 deg.
– white pastel and black paper

Weather conditions:
– warm evening
– beautiful clear sky

Yours sincerely,
Krzysztof Pieszczoch

Whole Moon in Pastel

By Roel Weijenberg

* Object Name: Moon
* Object Type: Moon
* Location: Deventer, The Netherlands
* Date: May 25, 2010
* Media: White pastel pencil on black paper

Yesterday the Moon was very low in the sky (maximum altitude 20 degrees) so I couldn’t see him from my backyard. So I took a very old 60mm f/6,9 refractor inside the house, placed it on a EQ-1 on top of my desk. At 32x the Moon was a nice bowl, almost full. I sketched it with a white pastel pencil on black paper. The disk on the paper was approx, 5″ in diameter. It took me about 30 minutes to complete this sketch. Next time I’ll probably use a larger disk to draw finer details, but this was my first try using white pastel on black paper so I’m pretty satisfied for now.

Kind regards,

Roel Weijenberg

Gibbous Moon With Sinus Iridum Detail

Gibbous Moon
Moon – Gibbous With Sinus Iridum Detail
By Mark Seibold

Technical Information regarding sketch:

A 19″ X 25″ pastel sketch [with the moons disc drawn at 12 ¾”] on black Strathmore Artagain pastel paper with use of various soft to hard pastel chalks on December 26th 2009 at 5UT ~ 9UT, partly produced from direct eyepiece observation over 2 to 3 hours, then finished indoors with photos taken from the eyepiece to produce a detailed close-up of the Sinus Iridum feature at the terminator. An artists conception was added at bottom as a final touch for a total work time of 4 ~ 5 hours. Observation was through my 10.1 inch f/4.5 Newtonian telescope with use of 32mm, 12mm, 9.7mm Super Plossls and 6mm Orthoscopic eyepieces. Ambient outdoor temperature in the 750 ft elevation foothills, west of the Cascades and Mount Hood, 30 miles east of Portland Oregon was approximately 34 degrees F. Wind gusting to 20 ~ 30 mph and subsiding to still at times.

*A slightly higher quality image may be viewed at

Pleine Lune

Full Moon
Full Moon
Sketch and Details by Christian Gros

Object Name : Pleine Lune
Object Type : Lune
Location : Besançon / France
Date : 28/04/2010
Media : Crayons Pastels sur feuille cartonnée grise


Alors que je venais de changer les vis du miroir secondaire de mon télescope (18cm), pour tester ce dernier j’ai profité de la nuit de pleine lune pour faire se dessin à x70. J’ai réalisé ce dessin entierrement de nuit en environ une heure à l’aide de crayons pastels. il ne s’agissait pas de retranscrire tous les détails visibles, bien trop nombreux, mais bien montrer l’aspect principal de notre satellite.


Christian Gros

Modified Google Translation:

Object Name: Full Moon
Object Type: Moon
Location: Besançon / France
Date: 28/04/2010
Media: Pencil Pastel on gray cardboard sheet


So I had to change the screws of the secondary mirror of my telescope (18cm), to test it I took advantage of the full moon to make drawing at x70. I made this drawing at night in about an hour using pastels. It does not show all the details visible, there were far too many, but it does show the main aspect of our satellite.

Christian Gros

Goldschmidt Rays and the Moon’s North Limb

Plato, Goldschmidt and Northern Limb
Sketch and Details by Deirdre Kelleghan

February 28th / March 1st 2010 23:20 UT – 00 :35 UT
200 mm Dobsonian Telescope FL 1,200
8mm TVP eyepiece = 150X
Goldschmidt rays and the Moons North limb

South is up in this sketch because that is the way I viewed it and sketched it. Pastels & Conte on black paper.

Our beautiful Snow moon was 99 .9 % drenched in the suns light when I went observing on the last day in February 2010. Along the NW limb several craters were on view in the libration zone, it was my intention to make a sketch of these elusive features. They presented on the limb as dark deep long shadows edged with sharp bright lines against the blackness of space.

However while these were interesting, my eye was magnetized toward the brightness of Goldschmidt and its ejecta rays, giving great form to the area. Several of these long dark lines were also on view on the edge of the limb close to Goldschmidt and Herschel . It was so visually interesting to observe the contrasts on the limb when the moon was so full, a black and white merry dance of slow movement and rich structure.

Plato never looked so dark and flat ,its black floor absorbing the suns light when most of the surrounding area was throwing it toward my eye. I adored the tiny pure white rim sections singing in the light. My sketch wandered across part of Mare Frigoris , the area around Plato and includes part of Mons Teneriffe .

Deirdre Kelleghan
Vice Char IFAS
Outreach IFAS
National Coordinator Astronomers Without Borders Ireland .

Kepler to Marius

Sketch of Craters Kepler and Marius

Kepler, Marius and Surroundings
Move mouse over image to view labels.
Sketch and Details by Peter Mayhew

Object Name: Craters Kepler and Marius
Object Type: Lunar craters
Location: York, UK
Date: 28th December 2009

The terminator of the day-12 moon struck through crater Marius. With Kepler to its left, it was a fine sight. I was surprised to observe that Marius is larger than Kepler, although of course the latter is more striking to the eye due to its rays. Wrinkle ridges north and south of Marius appeared hummocky by virtue of their crossing the dome-ridden Marius Hills, to the west of Marius on and beyond the terminator. I include a labelled version.

A Monotone Scoop of Neopolitan Ice Cream

Schickard and Lehmann

Lunar craters Schickard and Lehmann
Sketch and Details by Jeremy Perez

It’s hard to get used to the fact that the moon plays misery on DSO observations two weeks out of every month. I can see that my biggest interest leans toward those dim patchy things, but given a little time exploring the moon, it still turns out to be very rewarding. So I took some time this bright moonlit evening to explore some likely craters listed in the Astronomical League’s Lunar 100.

Schickard is a large crater on the western limb of the almost full moon. There is an intersecting crater on the north end that looks about 20% as big.The southwest floor has a series of ridges or cracks that run northwest to southeast. There is also a half-circle of craters on the western floor. On the east side floor, a distinct white patch is visible.

After getting past the dazzling array of contrasting crater-wall shadows, I noticed to my surprise that the floor of the crater gave the appearance of a monotone scoop of Neopolitan ice cream. The north half and southeast tenth of the crater floor were darker than the rest of the floor. These three distinct shaded areas didn’t owe their differences to some lucky angle of light, as their boundaries ran roughly parallel to the angle of the sun. Also very noticeable was a rough jumble of terrain outside the crater along the west-southwest rim. It was tough to sketch that and make it look like it belonged to the local terrain without spending an eternity linking it to continuing terrain further west. So it is what it is.


According to the The Moon Observer’s Guide, Schickard is one of the Moon’s largest craters at 227 km in diameter. Its walls rise 2500 meters above the floor. Its southwestern floor has been noticeably disrupted by debris thrown from the Orientale impact over 1000 km to the west. This debris carved valleys and chains of craters along this part of the crater. Periods of lava flooding have given the crater floor a multi-toned appearance with darker sections in the northern and southeastern sections–the most striking example of this on the Moon’s face.

The crater intersecting the north side of Schickard is Lehmann Crater. Lehmann is 47 km wide (20.8% the width of Shickard–hahah!) with 800 m walls.

Subject Schickard and Lehmann Craters
Classification Lunar Craters
Position Southwest edge
Phase/Age 12 days old
Size* Schickard Crater: (dia. 227 km);
Lehmann Crater (dia. 47 km)
Date/Time January 22, 2005 – 9:15 PM (January 23, 2005 – 04:15 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 Clear, cool (34�F)
Seeing 4-5/10
Sources The Moon Observer’s Guide By Peter Grego
* Based on published data.

Jeremy Perez

Waning Blue

Daytime Moon

Daytime Moon
Sketch and Details by Frank McCabe

23 Day Old Waning Crescent

When the moon crossed my meridian today it was more than 75° above the southern horizon. That was about one hour before I began this sketch. The last time I purchased sketching paper I bought a few sheets of light blue paper for day time lunar and planet sketching. This August has been unusual for Chicago, Illinois, in that we have had many days with cool temperatures and low humidity. Today again was one of those very transparent days although clouds were frequent and stopped me from sketching from time to time. Actual sketching time was about 45 minutes over a two hour period.


For this sketch I used: light blue drawing paper cut to 12’x14”, white Conte’
pastel pencils, a light blue Crayola pencil, a blending stump and my index finger too. No adjustments were need after scanning except size reduction.
Telescope: 4.25 inch f/ 5 Dobsonian and 12mm eyepiece 45x

Date: 8-24-2008 13:00-15:00 UT
Temperature: 20° C (68° F)
Partly cloudy, calm
Seeing: Antoniadi III
Colongitude: 188°
Phase: 262.9°
Lunation: 23 days
Illumination: 44 %
Libration Latitude -6°
Libration Longitude -1°

Frank McCabe

Ray Crater Proclus at High Sun


Ray Crater Proclus
Sketch and Details by Frank McCabe

Bright rayed crater Proclus (28 km.) lies between the highland Marsh of Sleep (Palus Somni) and the lowland Sea of Crisis (Mare Crisium). Proclus is a young crater about the same age as large crater Copernicus. But unlike Copernicus, the Proclus impact event arrived at an angle less than 15° from the west southwest based on the butterfly wing pattern of debris seen on the lunar surface. This pattern can be seen again on the eastern side of the moon several hundred kilometers to the south of Proclus with craters Messier and Messier A (not drawn here). The gray area to the upper right of Proclus is Palus Somni inside the “forbidden zone” where no rays can occur in the uprange direction. See chapter 10 of “The Modern Moon” by Charles Wood, Sky Publishing Corporation, for a more complete explanation. The rim of this crater in the high sunlight was as brightly illuminated as the rays. This crater is nearly as bright as larger Aristarchus across the lunar nearside to the west. Like crater Tycho this is one of those craters that are most impressive at high sun even with a modest size telescope. More than a lifetime of observing and even sketching awaits the amateur astronomer on moonlit nights.


For this sketch I used: black Strathmore 400 Artagain paper 12”x8”, white and black Conte’ pastel pencils and a blending stump. After scanning, Brightness was decreased (-6) and contrast increased (+5) using Microsoft Office Picture Manager.

Telescope: 10 inch f/ 5.7 Dobsonian and 6 mm eyepiece 241 x
Date: 7-16-2008, 4:20-5:45 UT
Temperature: 25° C (76° F)
Clear, light winds
Seeing: Antoniadi III
Colongitude 67.6°
Lunation 13 days
Illumination 95.8 %

Frank McCabe

Luminous Goldschmidt

Goldschmidt Crater

Craters Goldschmidt, Anaxagoras and Epigenes
Sketch and Details by Frank McCabe

Crater Goldschmidt is an ancient pre-Nectarian period walled-plain crater that is situated only 480 km. from the lunar North Pole. The floor of this crater appears light in color and little crater Goldschmidt A (7km.) was seen on the southern floor.
Along the western rim of Goldschmidt are craters Anaxagoras (53 km.) and Anaxagoras A (18 km.). Anaxagoras is a young Copernican period crater with an expected ray system that includes some I saw during the observation and included here to the east and southeast. The crater to the southwest of Goldschmidt is Epigenes (55 km.), an ancient Nectarian period crater with a more typical dark floor for this region. With the moon crossing the meridian so low it never resolved well in the eyepiece and scintillated and shimmered in the warm air rising from the ground. All in all it was a wonderful opportunity to view and sketch the moon.


For this sketch I used: black Strathmore 400 Artagain paper 10”x10”, white and black Conte’ pastel pencils and a blending stump. After scanning, Brightness was decreased (-5) and contrast increased (+5) using Microsoft Office Picture Manager.

Telescope: 10 inch f/ 5.7 Dobsonian and 6 mm eyepiece 241 x
Date: 7-14-2008, 2:20-3:40 UT
Temperature: 20° C (68° F)
Partly Cloudy, calm
Seeing: Antoniadi III-IV
Colongitude 41.9°
Libration in Latitude: +7° 19’
Lunation 11 days
Illumination 84.3 %

Frank McCabe

Eddington: A Mere Shadow of its Former Self


Sketch and Details by Frank McCabe

I was disappointed with my previous observation of this region of the Ocean of Storms this past August and this night was my first opportunity to return to this area. On this evening of observing and sketching, 137 kilometer, walled-plain crater remnant Eddington was well positioned and illuminated in the morning sunlight for drawing. The features that identify Eddington as a large crater ruin include the missing southern and eastern rims and the vast flooding of its floor with the mare lavas. Eddington is a Pre-Nectarian period crater which is likely older than 4 billion years. Today its worn appearance still has character. There is a broken arc of rim remains from south to east which gradually climbs from hills to mountains as the rim arc is traced northward. It may no longer be a regal crater, but it makes an excellent bay to the shore of the Ocean of Storms. To the east-southeast of Eddington rests the much younger Eratosthenian period crater Seleucus (44 km.). This is a deep crater at 3 km. and has a bright meandering debris ray from the crater Oblers A (not seen) passing the crater to the east. The Soviet moon probe Luna 13 landed 75 kilometers southeast of this crater. South along the terminator is the crater Krafft (51 km.) which makes an interesting partner to crater Cardanus beyond the sketching region to the south. Two craters are visible north and east of Eddington. These craters are Briggs (37 km.) and Briggs B (25 km.). Both were showing dazzling rims and ramparts in the early sunlight. The lone crater visible across the sketch to the northeast is Imbrian period crater Schiaparelli at 24 kilometers in diameter. This was that perfect lighting I was waiting for to capture this little corner of the Ocean of Storms.


For this sketch I used: black Strathmore 400 Artagain paper, white and black Conte’

pastel pencils and a blending stump. After scanning, Brightness was slightly decreased (-3) and contrast increased (+3) using Microsoft Office Picture Manager.

Telescope: 10 inch f/ 5.7 Dobsonian and 9 mm eyepiece 161x

Date: 6-17-2008, 2:55-3:50 UT

Temperature: 19° C (67° F)

Clear, transparent, calm

Seeing: Antoniadi III

Colongitude 72.7 °

Lunation 13.4 days

Illumination 98 %

Frank McCabe

Raising Eyebrows on the Floor of Imbrium

Aristillus and Autolycus

Aristillus and Autolycus
Sketch and Details by Richard Handy

Sitting replendently on the the eastern margin of Mare Imbrium, 56 km Aristillus and 41 km Autolycus, brothers of Copernician age, are a startling sight in the late lunar afternoon sunshine. Hexagonal in appearance, Aristillus’s broad and radially splayed glacis dominates the mare surface in this region. It’s wide, brilliantly lit terraces apparently have evidenced some mass wasting since its creation a little over a billion years ago. Resting on the floor, some 3650 m deep, the glowing central peaks are roughly 900 meters high. Rays, some quite prominent, emanate from the crater’s center. To the northwest of Aristillus, swathes of darker mare may indicate areas not fully dusted by the ejecta from this massive impact, or perhaps ejecta excavated from deep within the extant mare is responsible for these low albedo areas. Approximately 60 km to the south, Autolycus’s glacial nimbus appears almost serene in comparison to the complex nature of Aristillus’s glacis. Half of the floor of Autolycus is composed of quite torturous terrane including a strange floor subsidence to the eastern section of the floor.

Here are the sketch details:

Subject: Aristillus and Autolycus Rukl: 12
Date: 10-13-06 Start: 9:15 UT End: 10:50 UT
Lunation: 20.90 days Phase: 277.5 deg Illumination: 56.5%
Colongitude: 164.8 deg Lib. in Lat.: -5 deg 40 min Lib. in Long.: +7 deg 39 min
Seeing: Antoniadi III-IV with 30 seconds of Ant. II every 20 minutes
Weather: Clear early, turning to occasional clouds mid to late during session, 10-15 knot winds 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″

Across the Largest Lunar Lava Plain

Mare Imbrium

Mare Imbrium
Sketch and Details by Frank McCabe

Ray debris from crater Copernicus can be seen cast across this distant region of Mare Imbrium.
The first crater visible to the southeast (upper left) is 20 kilometer Pytheas. Like many of the craters in this part of the lava covered floor, it is from the Eratosthenian period and unlike the younger Copernican period craters does not display fresh crater rays. Northward the largest crater in this sketch is Lambert (30 km.). The inner wall terraces as well as the central craterlet were visible but the buried ghost crater Lambert R was not seen to the south with the higher sun angle here. To the west of Lambert the pair of bright spots is mons La Hire a solitary lunar mountain and remnant of the lunar highlands not covered over by lava. North of mons La Hire and projecting straight to the northwest is Dorsum Zirkel a wrinkled ridge of 200 kilometers length. Another shorter ridge to the northwest is Dorsum Heim which arcs to the northeast of crater Caroline Herschel (14 km.). The crater to the west of Pytheas and Lambert is Euler a 28 kilometer shadowed floor cavity with a brightly illuminated inner wall on the western side. Beyond this crater to the west southwest is the irregular, complex mountain feature mons Vinogradov an old Imbrian feature. On to the north northwest along the terminator are craters Diophantus (19 km.) and Delisle (25km.) with mons Delisle in between and closer to the crater of the same name. A dorsum or ridge or perhaps a buried crater rim creates a sharp curving demarcation between illumination and darkness along the terminator.
I would have preferred to use higher magnification during this observation but the wind was gusty and making observation a challenge.


For this sketch I used: black Strathmore 400 Artagain paper, 8”x 11”, white and black Conte’pastel pencils and a blending stump. Brightness was slightly decreased (-2) and contrast increased (+3) after scanning using Microsoft Office Picture Manager.

Telescope: 10 inch f/5.7 Dobsonian and 12mm eyepiece 121x
Date: 4-16-2008 3:36 – 4:15 UT
Temperature: 9°C (48°F)
clear, windy
Seeing: Antoniadi III
Co longitude: 35.4°
Lunation: 10 days
Illumination: 82.9 %
Phase: 48.8°
Observing Location: +41°37′ .. +87° 47′

Frank McCabe

Walther’s Ray of Sunshine

Walther Crater Ray

Sunset Ray on the Floor of Walther

Crater Walther (formerly known as Walter) lies on the southern lunar highland’s great peninsula facing almost directly toward the earth. This is an ancient land, high, heavily bombarded and Walther is a Necterian age, 145 kilometer member. This walled-plain crater has tall terraced walls that tower 4 kilometers above the crater floor. The off center central peak stands 1.6 kilometers above the surrounding floor. The ancient rim is heavily cratered and has several incisura along its circumference created by impacts. Before sunset and at just the right time light penetrates through a notch in the western rim and sprays light across the floor to the central peak and several floor crater rims beyond in an eastward direction. The remainder of the floor is completely dark creating the frozen searchlight view that I attempted to capture in this sketch. West of the notched wall is crater Deslandres W with its large rim blocks which separates it from the hellplain, Deslandres to the west. Walther also has a sunrise ray that can be seen beyond first quarter at just the right time.

The following webpage gives the times of lunar ray events for craters including Walther.


For this sketch I used: black Strathmore 400 Artagain paper, 8”x 8”, white and black Conte’pastel pencils and a blending stump. Brightness was slightly decreased after scanning.
Telescope: 10 inch f/ 5.7 Dobsonian and 6mm eyepiece 241x
Date: 11-2-2007 11:40-12:40 UT
Temperature: 0°C (32°F)
Clear, calm
Seeing: Antoniadi III
Co longitude: 115.4°
Lunation: 22.3 days
Illumination: 43.6 %

Frank McCabe

Note to visitors: Frank dedicated this stunning sketch to Rich Handy last week in the Cloudy Nights sketching forum. Thank you Frank. I’m sure we all echo your wish that Rich have a speedy rebuild and return home.


The Compelling Late Old Moon

The compellling Late Old Moon

South is up and west is to the left in this sketch I made this morning near
daybreak of day 27 for lunation 1048. I knew the view would be poor because I
could not wait at all for the scope’s primary mirror to cool down. Therefore I
kept the magnification low and decided to sketch the compelling region from the
Ocean Procellarum to Sinus Roris. At the top of the sketch closest to the lunar
equator and near the terminator, you can see crater Reiner a 53 km. crater and to
the west of this crater is the famous bright feature Reiner Gamma. Crater Olbers
responsible for the rays in the region is lost in the bright area near the limb.
Most of the craters in this late lunation have floors in darkness and look quite
spectacular through the eyepiece. The longest bright ray from south to north
passes east of the crater pair Cardanus and Krafft both about 50 km. in diameter.
On northward a couple of hundred kilometers and just west of the bright ray the
dark crater Seleucus can be  seen and further along to the east of the ray lies Schiaparelli. Most of the remaining craters visible lie on the limb side of the continuing ray and include: large crater Russell (105 km.) with smaller Briggs and Briggs A just to the east.
  Continuing on northward across the dark smooth ocean, craters Lichtenberg and
larger Lavoisier A can be seen. At this point the bright limb highlands feature
Harding and Dechen showing bright ejecta blankets near the edge of Sinus Roris. On
the terminator side  dome complex Mons Rumker is about to experience sunset.
Finally at the far northern end of the sketch is Markov a 40 km crater on the
floor of Sinus Roris. Seeing the moon early in the morning late in a lunation is
always a  pleasant and memorable sight.
  For this sketch I used: black Strathmore 400 Artagain paper 12”x 7”, white and
  black Conte’ pastel pencils a blending stump and my index finger too. Brightness
  was slightly adjusted after scanning.
  Telescope: 10” inch f/ 5.7 Dobsonian and 21mm eyepiece 69x
  Date: 10-8-2007 10:30-11:15 UT
  Temperature: 22° C (72° F)
  Clear, calm
  Seeing: Antoniadi III
  Colongitude: 234.1 °
  Lunation: 27 days
  Illumination: 7 %
  Frank McCabe

A bright note in his Music of the the Spheres

Kepler and rays 

Crater Kepler and its Rays
At nearly 12 days into the current lunation sunlight is bathing young crater
Kepler and its extensive ray system. Kepler falls into the category of a smallish
complex crater (31 km in diameter and 2.75 km deep) with a low peak rising from an
otherwise small flat central floor. Most of the floor is covered with slumped wall
debris. A small part of the inner wall appeared terraced. Crater Kepler lies
between the Oceanus Procellarum and the Mare Insularum both of which are made of
dark lavas. Very prominent rays extend from the rampart and ejecta blanket well
beyond the crater rim for more than 300 km. Some of the rays, especially in the
east, overlap rays of other craters such as Copernicus.

Crater Kepler was named by the Jesuit astronomer Giovanni Battista Riccioli about
28 years after the death of Johannes Kepler. He also named Crater Tycho after
Tycho Brahe, the man with the accurate data measurements that helped make Kepler

West northwest of Kepler the large old crater close to the terminator is Marius.
Using a higher magnification ocular than that used in this drawing, I could see
several domes to the north of the crater in very good grazing light. Kepler is a
favorite crater target of mine as the moon approaches full phase.
  For this sketch I used: black Strathmore 400 Artagain paper 9”x12”, white and
  black Conte’ pastel pencils and a blending stump.
  Telesccope: 10 inch f/ 5.7 Dobsonian and 9 mm eyepiece 161X
  Date: 4-29-2007 2:45-3:45 UT
  Temperature: 18° C (65° F)
  Clear, calm
  Seeing:  Antoniadi  III
  Colongitude  51.8 °
  Lunation 11.6 days
  Illumination 90.5 %
  Frank McCabe

Brightest Heliocentrist


When I visit the Moon with my telescope, unless I’m working with friends on a collaborative project, I like to see what takes my fancy when I reach the terminator. Invariably something catches your eye and just won’t let it go, that is what I go for, he who shouts the loudest. On the evening of Saturday April 28th it turned out to be Aristarchus magically illuminated along the terminator.
I used my Antares 105mm F14.3 refractor, viewing through a Denk binoviewer
yeilding 163x.
Using a black sketching pad and a mix of watercolour pencils, pastel pencils and
conte sticks after 15 minutes this was the result.
Dale Holt

On the edge of a fertile sea

Langrenus and the Sea of Fertility 

Langrenus at the Edge of the Sea of Fertility

With the Harvest moon just past and the shadow of the setting sun approaching the eastern shore of the Sea of Fertility, crater Langrenus stands out in all its glory. Langrenus is an Eratosthenian Period crater, between one and three billion years old. This crater is about 133 km. in diameter with a rim 2.6 km. above the bright, mostly flat floor. Mountain peaks near the center stand 1 km. high. Rays from the crater can be seen projecting in a westward direction across the Sea of Fertility. Much older (four billion plus years) and slightly larger than Langrenus to the south along the terminator is the crater basin Vendelinus. The walls of this crater were dealt crushing blows delivered by the impacts that created craters Lohse, Lame  and Holden which are drawn clockwise from north to south. Many additional smaller crater impacts on Vendelinus attest to the age of this old battered basin.

More than 400 km. to the northwest, grazing angle impaction created the craters Messier and Messier A. These craters exhibit a long pair of rays extending westward across the remainder of the mare. Note the perpendicular (north-south) rays centered on Messier. Laboratory experiments have demonstrated this pattern of so called “butterfly rays” can be duplicated with shallow angle high speed impacts.

Frank McCabe

For this sketch I used: white copy paper 6”x 8”, and a 2HB graphite pencil
at the eyepiece with the addition of marker ink to darken shadows indoors.

Telesccope: 10 inch f/ 5.7 Dobsonian and 9mm eyepiece
Date: 10-9-2006 5:00-5:45 UT
Temperature: 10°C (50°F)
Seeing:  Pickering 5
Co longitude: 114 °
Sunset longitude: 66.1° E.
Lunation:  16.8 days
Illumination:  94%