Monday, July 6, 2009

South Pole imaging opportunity 7/8-14 (Practice for LCROSS)

LCROSS Observation Group

Beginning July 8 and continuing through July 14, the Moon will enter a negative libration node cycle.

The south polar region will become increasing exposed beginning on July 8 at about 12UT with a -1.3 degs of libration in latitude, a 99% illuminated fraction (from the lunar west) and a low altitude for northern hemsphere observers and ending on July 13 at about 12UT with about -6.5 libration, a 69% illuminated fraction (from the lunar west), and a higher local horizon altitude for northern hemisphere observers.

At the predicted time of LCROSS impact (October 9 11:30 UT (5:30 MDT)), the Moon will be at 71% illuminated fraction and libration in latitude of -3.3 degs.

Southern hemisphere observers will have reversed favorable local altitudes between July 8 to 14.

Prior imaging in this newsgroup focused on easterly lunar illuminations.


Jim Mosher has collected available west lunar illuminations images, e.g. -

in -

Group members here may wish to consider returning to imaging the south pole from the current westerly illumination and libration-in-latitude cycle.

For northern hemisphere observers, obtaining good images may not be practical because of the Moon's low summer seasonal altitude. Nonetheless, topographic study with this new illumination will help in rapidly locating the LCROSS impact in October.

This is the first of two available imaging cycles available to view and image the south polar region at analogous librations-in-latitude, illuminated fraction and illumination direction between now and October 9.

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