Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Trying to Find Mare Humboldtianum

As an alternative for those with technical limitations, Mare Humboldtianum was included on the November Observing List as an additional option. I figured this meant it would be easy to find - but I was wrong! Mare Humboldtianum is so far on the outer edge of the moon it's barely visible as a little dark dent in the disk's perimeter.

Mare Humboldtianum

The reason it's so hard to see is due to lunar libration - or small oscillations that tilt the moon away from its average position. Although the Moon is tidally locked to the Earth, it still wiggles a bit - sometimes due to our perspective and sometimes due to its tilted axis and elliptical orbit.

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