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Places on the Moon: Copernicus Crater

The Moon's Copernicus Crater

Narrative

Using my Celestron NexStar Evolution 8 Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescope I have continued taking some nice pictures of the Moon by simply holding my point and shoot Canon PowerShot D30 camera on the telescope’s eyepiece.

Amazingly this technique actually works to capture some pretty nice pictures of the Moon.  The latest terrain feature I was able to capture was Copernicus Crater:

Copernicus Crater

The crater is located towards the southern end of the Apennine Mountains:

Apennine Mts Pic

You can learn more about the Apennine Mountains at the below link:

Copernicus Crater is highly recognizable when observing the Moon because the crater has such a wide 93 kilometer diameter.  To put that into perspective the state of Rhode Island at 60 kilometers in width could be dropped into this crater with room to spare:

copernicus2

What else that makes Copernicus noticeable is how isolated it is from other large craters on the lunar surface.  Eratosthenes Crater is the nearest large crater that is 220 kilometers away:

Copernicus to Eratosthenes

Below is an image from the Lunar Reconnaisance Orbiter which shows the difference in clarity a satellite around the Moon has compared to my telescope and little camera:

Copernicus Crater image via Wikipedia.

I would love to be able to take pictures of this clarity of the Moon one day.  Of interest is that the above high fidelity image shows how the inside of the crater has three mountainous peaks that rise up to 1.2 kilometers in elevation.  The below image of Copernicus Crater that was taken during the Apollo XII mission provides a side profile of these mountains:

Image of Copernicus Crater from the Apollo XII mission. Image via Wikipedia.

Here is an even closer image of Copernicus Crater from another satellite, Lunar Orbiter II where these mountains really standout:

Image via Wikipedia.

Copernicus Crater will continue to be a terrain feature on the Moon that I will continue to observe from time-to-time due to how easy it is to spot.  Hopefully I live long enough to where one day I can see this great crater not through a telescope, but with my own eyes if space travel ever becomes affordable commercially.

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