Saturday, August 12, 2006

Perseids pale to Sunset in Crisium

Session name: 20060811.2200

Friday night Charlie, Kin, and I went to Carl Schurz Park (CSP) to observe the Perseids. Actually we started at TotL with a plan to relocate around midnight to CSP because curfew in Central Park is enforced and a pain. We were clouded out anyway at TotL so we happily left around midnight to make our way to CSP. Kin left sometime between 2 ~3am, Charlie would see sunrise. At CSP, the police cruised by the entire time about once an hour, leaving us be. Safe and sound. Thank you very much.

The Perseid meteor shower paled to a waning gibbous Moon, nearly 18 days old. In my book, sunset in Mare Crisium was so fabulous that I really didn't care to look up in to the vast expanse of the New York sky. For a short period of time, I saw maybe four or five meteors within a few miuntes, over the course of the night maybe a total of 7, 8 would be strectching it. None was spectacular.

Mare Crisium features along its western rim were remarkably lit by the setting Sun as the evening terminator progresses west across the nearside of the Moon. In the northeastern United States we have Cape Cod, but here on the northeast of the lunar disk my eyes were glued to Cape Olivium and Cape Lavinium which appeared as if the open expanse between them leaked light onto the floor of Mare Crisium. Their peaks cast shadows like fangs drawing blood and creating drama in the last pool of light in the basin's interior.

Crater Yerkes and Peirce marked locations on the terminator where the western walls rose high to catch the sunlight. As they eventually capitulated to darkness there western walls persisted with reflecting light as long as they could.

This LOPAM photograph above shows crater Isidorus and craterlets: A (6mi x 6mi/10km x 10km) is interior the greater crater, F (12mi x 12mi/20km x 20km) touches the crater wall to the southeast, and K (4 mi x 4mi/7km x 7km) is detached a short distance to the southwest. Amazing that small amateur scopes can resolve such detail. The pictures don't do justice to what the eye and imagination offer. Here Isidorus with neighboring crater Capella, and the craterlets I was able to see clearly a realistic face with two eye sockets and a "Camel Joe" nose, the craterlets mentioned earlier helping make the shape.