March 2016 Skynotes: Mare Imbrium

17th March 2016

The Mare Imbrium (Sea of Showers) is estimated to be around 4 billion years old. It can be seen with small telescopes and binoculars towards the northern edge of the Moon.

This massive lunar feature is one of the largest craters in the Solar System (757 x 757 miles). It was formed when a very large object hit the Moon then it filled with lava.

Mountain ranges can be seen on its rim - Montes Alpes – north-east,  Montes Apenninus – south-east. There are some isolated mountains like Mons Piton and Mons Pico which can appear dramatic as they cast long shadows.

If you click on the image to enlarge it, you can clearly see the meandering Hadley Rille close to the Apollo 15 site marked. This intriguing geological feature was famously visited by the Apollo 15 astronauts riding their moon-rover. The rille is a challenging object telescopically and is not shown on most moonmaps in astronomy books but it can be plainly seen in a 4-inch refractor at x150 or so under favourable conditions

The image is a mosaic which was made out of three separate images stitched together. The separate images were taken by the best of 3000 frames which were stacked. The drawing was made from sketches at the telescope.

Matt Armitage

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