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Aldrin, Collins, Armstrong - Finally

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#1 daveCollins

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Posted 22 October 2012 - 08:20 PM

I wanted to see these three craters as a part identifying the Apollo 11 landing site. These three craters were a must for me as a part of this project of mine. I've been trying to view them for almost a year now.

I was using a TOA 150 and the eyepiece which worked best was a 4mm TMB Supermonocentric. With the moons distance from earth being roughly 376000 km and Collins being 2.4 km, I was seeing a crater (Collins) which was 1.3 arc seconds in diameter. I am quite impressed with the TOA 150. It is a great scope.

In steadier moments I could see all three craters with direct vision. I could also see a lot of detail in both Sabine and Ritter. In particular, I could see the ring structures inside of Sabine along with an interior crater.

I think the key to all this coming together tonight was the atlas “The Cambridge Photographic Moon Atlas”. Going back and forth between the scope and coming inside to look at the atlas I was able to easily identify where everything should be. And then one by one I found them. Once I had them all identified, I cross referenced the atlas with additional details to ensure that in fact I was seeing what I thought I was.

All in all it has been a great night … and it isn’t over yet!

#2 mich_al

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Posted 24 October 2012 - 04:38 PM

Congratulations! I've tried many times and so far all I can say that I may have seen them once during a short period of calm. I was at ridiculous magnification. An interesting thing about them, to me, is that all of them are much bigger than the famous Meteor Crater in Arizona, which seems really big in pictures.

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#3 C_Moon

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Posted 24 October 2012 - 09:29 PM

Congrats!

I remember my excitement when seeing these for the first time and I still am excited each time I'm lucky enough to have clear skies, steady air and good illumination. Something about seeing them brings a connection with those guys!

Now you'll have to try for the Cat's Paw...

#4 azure1961p

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Posted 24 October 2012 - 10:19 PM



Norme really made the Catspaw *happen* for me. The apollo 11 site is almost by rule steeped in high angle lighyt by the time I get out to observe the moon. Instead the Apollo 15 site reveals at a much more observer friendly hour and most important : elevation. Apollo 11 for me is always too low by the time Im set up and so seeing is poor. What Im left with are high angle of illumination views of Aldrin, collins and Armstrong with my 8". And even then it can be very challenging with out shadow relief and pure albedo alone. Ive come closer to getting a decent illumination of a waning moons phase at a late hour than an early evening waxing phase - the truer to historys lighting angle of the landing event.

I used to dislike lunar albedo observing under high angle illumination but when its all thats often available when Im out I make the best of it. It IS a challenge unto itself even if it isnt representitive of the light and shade at the time of the astronauts landings and EVA's.

Pete

#5 Asbytec

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Posted 25 October 2012 - 04:47 AM

Pete put the Cat's Paw challenge to me. Using Collins, just move south a bit. It's embedded in an X shaped albedo feature and does take good seeing in a 6". High power helps. The best view every was during the waning moon early in the morning. Sabine C and Cat's Paw were clearly elongated.

The seeing was so calm, it was just "there" - plain as day. In fact, seeing was so good, I was trying to spot smaller craters in the vicinity. Anyway, thanks Pete, for the wonderful challenge. It was fun trying for them, failing or barely able to see something to finally succeeding.

Generally, if Collins or Aldrin don't show well, Cat's Paw will be very difficult. Congrats on your sighting. Next time Aldrin and Collins show cleanly, go for the Paw.

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#6 daveCollins

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Posted 25 October 2012 - 10:22 PM

Thanks for the information on Cat's Paw. I will definitely give it a try. I did view Sabine C. It was at the very limit of what was visible to me. I knew about the other craters next to Sabine C, but wasn't aware of the significance of the "Cat's Paw".

By the way, I started my viewing that evening 30 minutes before sunset. That gave me a head start on coming up with a plan on what I am going to try and do. For me moon-set is at the meridian due to buildings I have to look over. So I try to get an early start.

Just got in from another evening of viewing. I had some of the best seeing this year off my balcony. When the AP 175 became available, I got lucky and two Astro-Physics scopes became available due the new scope. I purchased an AP 130 which had only been take outside twice and then stored until I bought it (10 years old!!). It was as if it just came from Astro-Physics brand new. Not even a spec of dust on the objective. Then the next day I grabbed an AP 160 off Astromart. The AP 160 was in flawless condition. So even though I didn't get the new 175, I am thrilled to get not only my first AP, but in fact I got two! I had been looking for one in great shape for quite a while, so to get both of them in a two day span was quite a surprise. I tend to be an opportunist and when I see something, I'll jump on it. Same with viewing. Tonight was a complete surprise and then by 10pm it was completely overcast.

I brought up this AP subject because I had first light with the AP 130 tonight. Without going into too much detail, I ended up viewing with a Televue 4x barlow and a 8mm Ethos which gave 390x. The detail I could see was amazing. I watched Gassendi almost the entire evening. It started out with only the rim and central peaks showing. The illumination slowly worked its way to the floor of the crater. I found it quite impressive and entertaining. Once the floor was illuminated, I could clearly see Gassendi M on the floor. I did jump around to other sites, but Gassendi was the main show.

I could not see Rimae Herigonius even though I must have tried for 45 minutes. I though I saw a glimpse of it, but not sure. My lunar atlas showed exactly were it was (next to Gassendi) in a great photo, so I knew were to look. But I either didn't have a big enough scope, or the illumination wasn't good enough. It was great fun trying.

#7 azure1961p

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Posted 26 October 2012 - 11:21 PM

Dave the Catspaw has the distinction of being a crater formation acknowledged by at least Buzz Aldrin as hills on the lunar horizon in the direction of the descending Eagle.


The namesake craters were too far off over their lunar horizon.

Pete!

#8 daveCollins

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Posted 27 October 2012 - 08:08 PM

Thanks Pete. I think I am going to get books about the moon missions and read what they had to say about their experiences. I agree that having more information about the missions will make seeing the sites more meaningful.

#9 azure1961p

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Posted 28 October 2012 - 01:18 AM

Theres a lot of great stuff online at various websites to say nothing of some stunning images. Apollo 15 is my fav along with 17 and 11. Apollo 12 was rather drab and not at all easy to find with precision. After that they get more interesting with topography.

Pete

#10 RobertED

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Posted 28 October 2012 - 09:10 AM

Apollo 11 and 12, just didn't stay on the Moon nearly as long as the later missions (14-17). They had the Rover (not 14) and various carts and stuff. More opportunities for photos, hauling equipment, etc, etc!! I so miss those days!!!! :bawling:

#11 azure1961p

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Posted 28 October 2012 - 02:46 PM

I do too. Im a diehard believer that the mission to mars for humans is money and lives poorly spent and that the subsurface oceans believed to be on titan, europa and such need the prioroty of our robotic exploration - not that its at all easy. That said I WISH we had a colony on the moon. The space station is meaningless to me but a colony on the moon be it for a telescope, ice/oxygen excevation or some such would be wild. I dont know if justification can be made against the ISS but for a moonbase instead, I do miss the fact that we have zero presence out there regardless.

Iv e often thought the moon would be a great place for observatories but perhaps orbital things like Spitzer and HST preclude a lunar need?

Pete

#12 daveCollins

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Posted 28 October 2012 - 06:10 PM

Pete, I think you make some good points. I feel a sense of pride for what has been accomplished technically with the Mars Rover missions. Curiosity has been a huge technical success. But what we are doing seems like small incremental increases in knowledge compared to something like a mission to Titan or Europa. To have put Curiosity onto one of those moons would have been not only an immensely impressive feat, but I would guess that the knowledge gained about the solar system would have dwarfed what we are doing on Mars.

With respect to the moon, I think it would make a lot of sense to build a scientific complex using what we've learned with ISS. Not only could a large serviceable scope be placed on the moon, but other interesting and important science projects could be pursued. Since the transit time from earth to the moon is relatively short compared to Mars, I think there are good arguments for spending resources on a lunar base. I hope to see something like this in my lifetime.

Imagine how fun it would to view a settlement on the moon with our scopes!

#13 azure1961p

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Posted 28 October 2012 - 09:17 PM

I was just just about to say that with our luck theyd put it on the far side, but NASA being ever needful of public support wouldnt dare. It would be an incredible thing to see some kind of superstructure or the long cast black shadows from it.

There is no doubt that a return to the moon mission would score big on public support if they can create the need. At anyrate, Im holding out for one day seeing evidence of Europian shrimp ;)

Pete






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