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First Quarter Moon

January 1, 2004

First Quarter Moon
Image Credit: Anthony Ayiomamitis

First Quarter Moon

A great time to begin observing the Moon is near first quarter, when the terminator - the sunrise line - slices right thru the middle of the Moon. This Moon image, taken with a 14" SCT and a Nikon Coolpix digital camera, shows the dark circular maria - vast piles of lava - on the eastern (right) hemisphere of the Moon. Along the terminator, craters and mountains cast dramatic shadows, making features fascinating to observe. This image has about the same lighting conditions as Galileo's drawing - upper left masthead - from 1609. On both the drawing and the modern image you can see Mare Serenitatis just east of the terminator, and two mountain ranges crossing it. Galileo's very prominent crater further south on the terminator is clearly exaggerated in size, but can't be identified with certainty; could it be Albategnius (labeled A)?

Related Links:
Anthony Ayiomamitis' Lunar Web Site
Galileo's Moon Drawings

Tomorrow's LPOD: Cauchy Faults, Rilles and Domes

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