image by Tom Bash

Almost anyone who observes the Moon can find and admire Plato and its environs. Its a classic area because Plato is such an iconic feature - the subject of countless observations of tiny craters, real and imagined, with a surface that's unchanging or full of bright spots, clouds and evanescent lights. The nearby Alpine Valley is also a favorite, with observers and imagers straining to see the narrow inner rille, the channel of a flow that transported lava for hundreds of kilometers - did it spill out into Imbrium? Hidden in the rubble of Imbrium Basin ejecta between Plato and the Valley are a small handful of snakely sinuous rilles, one of which ventures out on Mare Imbrium. Does Plato have more rilles around its outer flanks than any other crater? If so, why? Finally, Tom's low-Sun view captures the mare ridge oval just south of Plato that defines an apparently submerged crater informally called Ancient Newton. I notice for the first time a curved boundary passing through Ancient Newton from Mount Pico to Plato. To the right of the curve the mare surface is smooth, but to the left it appears very slightly elevated and has a rougher texture. In a high-Sum image this is the diffuse boundary of a wispy bright unit to the left, against a darker, probably younger one to the right.

Chuck Wood
PS - thanks, Tom. I didn't have a chance to ask permission!

Technical Details
10 August 2008, 02:43 UT. TEC 8" f/20 Mak, Infinity 2-1M, Near IR filter, best 170/700 frames.
This is a piece of Tom's larger image.

Related Links
R√ľkl plates 3, 4 & 12


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