Seas of Serenity, Tranquility, Fertility, and Nectar - Landolt Observatory

Briar Richard

Denham Springs, United States

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Artist's Description

Our photos are like our children in that we have trouble picking favorites. Truth be known, I have only one child, but I can imagine the difficulty of not loving all of your kids equally and infinitely.

With that in mind, this is a darker twin of a previous post.

This version shows more detail in the lunar seas, which are the foci of the photo. The brighter version still hold its own, as it reveals more mountain and crater shadowing along the terminator.

Just can’t make up my mind on this one!

Science info on this capture…

Formed between 3.8 and 3.2 billion years ago, after a violent period of asteroid and cometary impacts known as the Late Heavy Bombardment, the four lunar “seas” (or mare) pictured are now defunct lava basins of basaltic rock.

Mantle magma is thought to have risen through the shattered crust to fill these giant resevoirs. Lava channels known as rilles wind their way throughout each of the basins, and are better viewed when the picture is enlarged.

Early in the evolution of the Earth-Moon system, the Moon gravitationally locked into synchronous rotation with our planet, which is why the same half of the lunar sphere faces Earth at all times. The Moon’s far side is nearly devoid of mare basins, so it’s rather fortuitous that we see the more topographically varied portion of its surface.

Along the top of the night/day line, or terminator, sharp shadows are cast out tens of kilometers from the western edge of the Caucasus Mountains

The pictures was captured through LSU’s Landolt Telescope, using a Nikon D90 and 2" T-adaptor. The exposure was 1/60 second at 400 ISO.

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