Giving scale to the Moon

3 miles deep.

That’s the average of the Pacific Ocean.

53 miles wide.

That’s as wide as the Bering Strait, or Lake Ontario.

108 Million years old.

It’s formation was watched by the dinosaurs.

And in lunar terms that’s young.

It was an impact so violent that Apollo 17 picked up samples from its ejecta and the Challenger landed over 900 miles away.

Tycho is an impressive sight.  If you are endowed with exceptional eyesight you might see a hint of  it with the naked eye, if you know where to look.  Even in small binoculars it’s unmissable.

Tycho Crater from Surveyor 5 NASA

It is easy, though, to forget the numbers.

We look at the moon and see a small silvery globe hanging in an infinite sky and we lose all sense of the scale of the place; the sheer enormity of it all.

The picture below is of one part of Tycho.  A point of light in the centre of the crater that is so often over looked.

Tycho Central Peak Complex from LRO NASA

This was taken by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and is an image of the central peak complex of the crater, created in the high energy of the impact; the ground was raised over a mile above the bottom of the crater.

It wouldn’t stand as a large mountain on earth, but below is a picture of the UK’s largest ‘rock’ Ben Nevis and that’s a not insignificant 0,8 miles high….

Ben Nevis, imagine how far from the crater rim you would be to see Tychos peaks like that..... (Thincat)

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About astronomersden

Daddy, Hubby, Teacher and when ever I get the chance Astronomer.
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One Response to Giving scale to the Moon

  1. DavidH says:

    The picture of the peak in Tycho really brings home the scale of the moon. You get used to looking at all these craters without quite realizing how massive they are. Distance is always something I find difficult to grasp when I think about the scale of the universe. I shall be training my scope on Tycho at the next available opportunity and try to imagine what it would be like to stand on top of that peak.

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