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January full moon wanes

With the full moon having come and gone a day prior, we now watch closely as it wanes towards new moon. As the sunset terminator (Earth's shadow) climbs back over the lunar limb (edge of the moon) night by night, great shadowy detail and separation is revealed between deep impact craters, the maria, and the highlands. Darkened surface areas, the maria (Latin for seas), are made up of frozen lava from lifetimes ago; conversely, the lighter gray and white areas comprise the highlands. Very little shadow being cast on the moon reduces contrast and generally makes craters harder to spot; which is why more detail can be seen on the top of the image where the terminator runs into the limb. However, such conditions reveal stunning views of something else....Can you spot the streaks or "rays" emanating from the giant impact crater on the bottom right of the image? That crater is known as Tycho, it's approximately 110 million years old, and the impact from the asteroid which created it displaced a great deal of terrain creating a surrounding "ejecta blanket," of which the streaks are a part of, some stretching to 1,500km long. Many of Tycho's massive ejecta chunks went on to create other smaller craters too! Even more fascinating, all of the landing sites for the Apollo Missions (11, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17) are present in the image as well!

2014Chris Giordanoastrophotographyfull moongiordanoMEDIAmoonwaningterminatorcraterTychomariahighlandsimpactlunarplanetarytelescope