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whats the best lunar phase to view plato?

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#1 dlapoint

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 08:18 AM

Looking to view the craterlets at maximum shadow angles. I know around full is ok, but is there a perfect day?

#2 azure1961p

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 11:21 AM

Yes but its subject to change from person to person, seeing, etc. This Friday was dynamite actually. A program free like LTVT would answer your question like nobody could.

Pete

#3 David Knisely

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 01:51 PM

Generally, it will depend on things like libration, but a little over a day to about a day and a half past first quarter and near last quarter phase can be close to optimal phase for viewing the craterlets. They can be seen at other times, but the above phases should let you get them just after lunar sunrise. Clear skies to you.

#4 dlapoint

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 03:36 PM

Thanks guys. Heading out tonight

#5 edosaurusrex

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 08:44 PM

PLATO PREDICTIONS FOR 2013

Date and time (UT) are for Plato fully illuminated with the terminator at its' edge. I've rearranged them by viewing window (Sunrise to Sunset)
MMM DD HHMM
JAN 05 0816 SUNSET

JAN 20 0559 SUNRISE
FEB 03 2337 SUNSET

FEB 18 2006 SUNRISE
MAR 05 1320 SUNSET

MAR 20 1036 SUNRISE
APR 04 0112 SUNSET

APR 19 0058 SUNRISE
MAY 03 1133 SUNSET

MAY 18 1445 SUNRISE
JUN 01 2104 SUNSET

JUN 17 0342 SUNRISE
JUL 01 0636 SUNSET

JUL 16 1544 SUNRISE
JUL 30 1656 SUNSET

AUG 15 0300 SUNRISE
AUG 29 0438 SUNSET

SEP 13 1350 SUNRISE
SEP 27 1759 SUNSET

OCT 13 0041 SUNRISE
OCT 27 0852 SUNSET

NOV 11 1204 SUNRISE
NOV 26 0044 SUNSET

DEC 11 0026 SUNRISE
DEC 25 1642 SUNSET

#6 dlapoint

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 10:33 AM

Wow! Thank you so much!

#7 Kent10

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 11:07 AM

Hi edosaurusrex:

Thanks for the listing of Plato predictions. I am relatively new to observing the moon in detail and it is a goal of mine to see the Plato craterlets with my daughter.

I took my new Tec 160FL out this morning before it got light. It was a few hours earlier than the listed JAN 05 0816 SUNSET time but it didn't appear that the time was right to see the craterlets. I realize that is UT time so I subtracted 7 hours since I am in AZ. So I am wondering what type of window you have on either side of these times. Or does it really vary a lot. I plan on downloading some of the software such as this http://ltvt.wikispaces.com/Downloads or this http://ap-i.net/avl/en/download for future endeavors. But as I said I am quite new at this.

Thanks, Kent

#8 edosaurusrex

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 12:09 PM

Hi Kent. Thanks for the feedback on Plato. Not knowing any better I used a Sun altitude of 1.5 degrees at the center of Plato. The "window" is from the sunrise to sunset time (i.e. as long as it's illuminated). Was there too much rim shadow within the crater? I can change the Sun's altitude and run the predictions again.
Ed

#9 Kent10

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 12:44 PM

Thanks Ed. Much appreciated. I only had a short time to view this morning before sunrise. Your predicted time for Jan 5 is 8:16am UT time. So for me that would be -7 in AZ or 1:16am. So I was a good 5-6 hours past this time when I started to view. (I said "earlier" in my 1st post but it should be "later") So if as you say the window to view the craterlets is between sunrise and sunset then I was too late and that explains it. This morning it seemed that the rim of Plato was lit but the floor was very dark with no possibility of seeing the craterlets. It was just too late. The moon was too low at 1am so no chance then anyway.

There are several days between sunrise and sunset. Do you think there is an equally good chance of seeing the craterlets within this time or is there a way of narrowing it down. I didn't think the window would be so large.

Thanks for your help. This is very exciting for me. As I said my daughter wants to see them now too. We looked in December when the floor was lit up but couldn't see anything so the sun was probably at the wrong angle. We will keep trying.

#10 edosaurusrex

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 12:55 PM

Kent, and others.
That was my goal with posting the initial set of predictions to hopefully get observers to report and eventually narrow and define the ideal Sun altitudes "window" for viewing the craterlets. (Can you say Science Project?)
That's how we did the Werner X. The initial predictions were based on available dated photos and were refined by observers in Australia and New Zealand. What I didn't know at the time was that Dave Chapman was engaged in a similar effort. Keep the reports coming, we'll get it figured out.

Ed

#11 Perigny270

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 11:56 AM

Great table, as usual. Thanks.
I think the Curse got hold of it a couple of months ago... I just keep checking...

#12 siriusandthepup

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 05:32 PM

My favorite Plato time is just past 1st quarter (half). One to three days after half is perfect for observing the craterlets. This is the time with the best shadows.

#13 Kent10

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 06:23 PM

Thanks Ed. There seems to be a larger window to view the craterlets than I first thought which is good news.

#14 C_Moon

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 10:23 PM

I have found that seeing the craterlets depends on the right sun angle and atmospheric seeing. All I can say is keep trying, it will blow you away when you finally see them as small pits rather than just spots.

Also, keep practicing as I can definitely pick them up better after 2-3 years of trying.

I start trying as soon as Plato moves into the sunlight and keep trying night after night until there are little or now shadows from the crater wall.

I sometimes wonder if there is any "help" available when viewing at perigee. I'll let the experts answer. I just recall one favorable observation that just so happened to occur when the moon was near perigee. Of course, it was probably the seeing, but maybe being at perigee helped?






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