Here we have the east coast of Mare Nectaris. There are some real treats here. The wonderful keyhole shaped crater above center is Gutenberg (77km dia) with smaller Gutenberg C (45km) forming the keyhole shape to the south. To the north are the Rimae Gutenberg looking like three roughly parallel scratch marks heading off to the northwest. Michael Collins got great images of these rimae from the Apollo 11 command module under the file name AS11-42-6313. Then east of Gutenberg is the oddly shaped crater Goclenius (56km) with Rima Goclenius stretching from its north wall some 247 km north to Gutenberg E (28km) the broken crater that intrudes on the northeast wall of Gutenberg. Slightly north and to the west on the terminator, is the shadow filled crater Capella (51km). Very dramatic mountains and formations here can be seen as the sun rises further. To the southwest of Gutenberg is a small but interesting crater Guadibert (34km) just a ring … Continue reading →
About Richard Hill
Richard “Rik” Hill
Born: June 10, 1949 only a few hours after Antares was occulted by a nearly full moon.
My first observation was the May 6th, 1957 transit of Mercury as a schoolboy in a two room schoolhouse in rural Oakland County, Michigan, when a substitute teacher brought a 1.6” Unitron to school and projected an image the sun. She had the wrong day but the sunspots on the Sun fired me up on astronomy at the age of 8! So to that extend, I was a pre-Sputnik amateur astronomer…by 5 months.
I observed through the 1960s, first with the standard 2.4" refractor (Tasco) and later with an RV-6 I bought with money earned mowing lawns and washing cars. I occasionally attended evening astronomy classes at Cranbrook Institute of Science though I did not have good grades in school because I spent all my study time with Sky & Telescope or girls. These poor grades led to my being drafted very quickly after graduation but instead I joined the Navy. In the Navy I served as a radar tech. but was frequently called up by the navigators to help identify stars for sextant fixes. (A very early form of GPS!) A high point in my time in the Navy was when my ship was chosen as the Atlantic backup recovery ship for Apollo 8. We were, of course never used but we got to practice a lot with a dummy capsule and had one of the later Apollo astronauts on board.
After the Navy, I sold the RV-6 to a high school girl who was the only one in the whole Detroit area (then 2 million people) that answered the ad. I was surprised to find she lived in my neighborhood and went to school with my sisters. The young girl and her friend called on me to help them start and astronomy club at their school, the same high school I attended. A year and a half later, in 1974, I married that girl, Dolores, and we're still married. I am committed to a lifetime maintenance contract on the old RV-6!
I joined the Association of Lunar & Planetary Observers (ALPO) and the American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO) in 1975 and have been active, to some degree, in both organizations since. That same year my Dolores and I founded (along with another person) The Sunset Astronomical Society in Midland, Michigan. It is still going strong today.
In 1979, I was hired by Warner & Swasey Obs. (Case Western Reserve Univ.) to operate their Burrell Schmidt telescope being moved from Cleveland, Ohio to Kitt Peak. I worked there for 12 years until the grant was terminated. In 1982 Walter Haas (Director and founder of the ALPO) asked me to found the Solar Section, which I did. (early history at: http://www.alpo-astronomy.org/solarblog/?page_id=209) I left that position in 2004 after one full magnetic solar cycle as Recorder/Coordinator. Hearing of my retirement the ALPO reinstalled me as Coordinator of the Solar Section in 2016. The sun’s instant reaction was to hide all the big sunspots!
In 1992, when Warner & Swasey’s Nat’l Science Foundation grant failed to get renewed I began work with the Planetary Atmospheres and Planetary Occultations groups at the Lunar & Planetary Lab of Univ. of AZ. In these groups I worked with every planet in the solar system and many of the moons. That job lost its funding in Dec. 1999 (common problem in this business) and 20 minutes after being informed of this I was picked up by Steve Larson for work with the Catalina Sky Survey (CSS), an Near Earth Asteroid search project, from which I retired in Oct. 2015. With CSS I have been enjoyed some of my greatest observing challenges but the rewards were high. I discovered thousands of asteroids some that have passed closer than the moon, 27 comets and named a over 120 asteroids.
Now I am working on astronomy at my home observatory, fossils I've collected over 35 years, my bonsai trees, vegetable gardens and the taking in rescue cats.
Our best observing weather is when the days are hot, the evenings warm and still. The colongitude was just right so this was a good night toget a look at the famous “X” on the moon. Can you see it on the terminator? It only lasts for and hour or so. Here’s how you get there. The area below center of this image is dominated by the two circular pools of darkness that are Aliacensis (82km diameter), lower, and Werner (71km) above. A line between the centers of these two craters lead to the “X” formed by the walls of Blanchinus, La Caille, Purbach and several smaller features. Above Aliacensus and Werner is a nice flat floored crater, Apianus (65km) and further above that is a smaller crater Playfair (49km). Near the top of the image is a pair of craters Azophi (49km) and above it is the irregular Abenezra (43km) with Geber (46km) partially cut off by the edge … Continue reading →
The monster crater here is Gassendi (114km diameter), a landmark for this colongitude on the north shore of Mare Humorum, the “Sea of Moisture”. Gassendi was flooded during the same even that created the mare so we only see the tops of what once were magnificent central peaks. The faulted floor is always a enjoyable but I particularly like the detail in the walls of the crater as they catch these early rays of the rising sun. Note the two notches in Gassendi’s wall at about the 11 o’clock position. On LROC Quick Map they appear to be to impacts through the mountains giving the appearance at this lighting of being parallel rimae. The nice central peaks and rimae on the floor are provide a rich field for examination. There are 3 main rimae that diverge from a point to the east of the central peaks. Between two of them is a small crater, Gassendi N (3km). The rima on … Continue reading →
Our best observing weather in southern AZ is when the days are hot, the evenings warm and still. The colongitude was just right so this was a good night to get a look at the famous “X” on the moon. Can you see it on the terminator? It only lasts for and hour or so. Here’s how you get there. The area below center of this image is dominated by the two circular pools of darkness that are Aliacensis (82km diameter), lower, and Werner (71km) above. A line between the centers of these two craters lead to the “X” formed by the walls of Blanchinus, La Caille, Purbach and several smaller features. Above Aliacensis and Werner is a nice flat floored crater, Apianus (65km) and further above that is a smaller crater Playfair (49km). Near the top of the image is a pair of craters Azophi (49km) and above it is the irregular Abenezra (43km) with Geber (46km) partially cut … Continue reading →
A night with the Dynamax6 I just bought as I continue to “shelter in place” during the Coronavirus outbreak. Here we have one of the more identifiable craters on the moon, Clavius (225km diameter) just above center here, containing its impressive arc of smaller craters starting with Rutherfurd (56km) on the southwest rim (lower right) of Clavius and then going through a series of the Clavius satellite craters decreasing in size while curving to the north and east. On the north rim is a crater similar to Rutherfurd. This is Porter (54km). Just outside the wall to the southwest are two similar sized craters. The southernmost one with the relatively smooth floor is Blancanus (109km) and just north and west of it is Scheiner (114km). South of Blancanus is a very flat floored crater, Klaproth (122km) and further south is Casatus (114km). To the left are two more similar craters mostly filled with shadow. The lower one is Kircher (75km) … Continue reading →
Imagine working on a spacecraft, putting your whole effort into building, launching and guiding of it to its destination (Destination Moon for you old timers) only to lose the telemetry 2 1/2 minutes before the projected touchdown? I’ve been in a room where that kind of thing happened (on Mars) and everyone looks like a wet dog. It’s very depressing. The lunar mission I’m speaking of here is Surveyor 4 which crashed into Sinus Medii very near the Huyginus (10km dia.) and the beautiful squat “V” shaped Rima Huyginus seen in the upper right and Triesnecker (27km) with its complex of rimae in the center. The mean center of the visible disk of the Moon is seen at the “+” symbol. Above it are two similar sized craters, Bruce (7km) on the left and Blagg (5km) on the right. To the left of these are two numbers “4” and “6”. The number 4 indicates the supposed crash site of Surveyor … Continue reading →
A spectacular view when the sun first rises on 145km diameter Walter just left of center in this image. It’s offset central peak is casting a beautiful long shadow all the way to the western wall. Note the crater in the central peak which is heavily sculpted by impacts. East or right of Walter and a little south is a large irregular depression. This is Nonius listed as 71km diameter though it is anything but circular! North and east are two similar diameter craters. The southern one is Aliacensis (82km) and to the northwest of it is Werner (71km). Notice the beautiful terracing of inner walls of Werner! Above Werner is the raggedy crater Blanchinus (70km) and further up is the shadow filled La Caille (70km). The floor of La Caille is fairly flat with lots of small craters so when the sun rises it rapidly becomes illuminated with all the craterlets splattered about. You can see that starting to … Continue reading →
Situated on the western shores of Mare Imbrium, south of (and overshadowed by) Sinus Iridum (the bay of rainbows) are a curious collection of mountains, domes to be more precise, called (north to south) Gruithuisen northwest, Gamma and Delta or in the Lunar Dome Atlas, G3, G1 and G2. Seen here they are above center with the two southern domes being rather obvious and the northwestern one being a small peak casting a long thin shadow. This whole region is filled with little gems but often missed because of the grandeur of the Sinus. The northernmost of the three is also the shortest being only 1020m in height with the next one south being 1900m and the southernmost 1740m. They were all formed from eruptions of rather viscous during, appropriately enough, the Imbrium epoch (3.85-3.2 billion years ago). The crater from which they derive their names, Gruithuisen (17km dia.) is south of the small patch of unnamed mountains south of … Continue reading →
Here it is, irresistible when on the terminator, “the awfulest” crater on the moon as my mentor Jim Loudon (from Univ. of Mich.) used to call the 104km diameter crater, Theophilus seen here in all its magnificent glory just below center. Its spectacular central peaks and wonderful terraced western wall are displayed in morning sunlight with the crater still half filled with shadow. Just below is the older, more tortured crater Cyrillus (100km dia.) with its great rimae on the floor just beyond the shadow’s edge. West of Cyrillus (left) still deep in shadow is Ibn Rashd (34km) and a little further is similar sized Kant (32km) even deeper in shadow.Above these two craters forming a isosceles triangle is Mons Penck rising some 4km above the plain to its east. North of Theophilus is the plain Sinus Asperitatis splattered with the radial streaks of ejecta from the Theophilus impact, full of small (<5km) secondary craters. This is an enjoyable area … Continue reading →
Often I show image covering from Aristoteles to Hercules in sunrise. But here I want to zoom in on a small area of that region this time at sunset. Just above center in this image is the crater Burg (41km dia.) in the center of the rough hexagon of Lacus Mortis (155km). The detail in the eastern wall of Burg is nicely displayed here along with several of the diverse rimae on the floor of this Lacus. Below Burg are two wonderful craters, the flat floored Mason (44km) on the right and Plana (46km) with the little central peak to the left. That central peak, with the 3km impact crater on the south side, is only the tip of what was once a much larger mountain but for the lava flooding of this crater that filled up the interior. The only feature on the floor of this crater seen here is a small (2.5km dia.) crater at the tip of … Continue reading →
A wonderful sunrise scene starting with the beautiful terraced walls of Philolas (73km dia.) in the upper right corner, a Copernican Period crater (recent) formed within the last billion years. Notice how it appears this craters sits inside an older, larger crater. To the left you can see the top sunlit edge of the wall of shadow filled Anaximenes (82km) traced out by sunlight just catching the mountain tops. Below that, also on the terminator, are the ramparts of the crater Carpenter (61km) just coming into the light. The star of this show, the crater J. Herschel (160km) is the huge ring visible in the lower left quadrant of this image. It is an ancient crater of Pre-Nectarian age, possibly as old as 4.5 billion years! Note the rough floor, normally smooth with higher sun but now showing the slightest irregularity and smallest pit. The shadows are a delight as well with the gap in the upper right letting light … Continue reading →
Because of the Ptolemaeus-Alphonsus-Arzachel trio on the west side and the Theophilus-Cyrillus-Catharina trio on the east side, this whole area gets overlooked by many observers. Besides being the just south of the Apollo 16 landing (one of the most difficult sites to locate) it contains a profusion of interesting craters and features. The large craggy crater on the left is Albategnius (139km dia.) with Klein (46km) sitting on its southwest wall. Due south of this is the large ruined crater Parrot (121km). Then east of this crater is a curious looking double crater with a valley cutting through the pair. The lower crater is Vogel (27km) and the upper one is the satellite crater Vogel B and the valley is an illusion crated by two smaller craters that were formed from separate impacts on the northern wall of the “B” crater and the southern wall of Vogel that just happend to be aligned with the centers of the other craters! … Continue reading →