Copernicus (Lunar crater)

From Academic Kids

Template:Lunar crater Copernicus is a prominent lunar impact crater located on the eastern Oceanus Procellarum. It visible with binoculars slightly northwest of the center of the Moon's Earth-facing hemisphere. South of the crater is the Mare Insularum, and to the south-south west is Reinhold crater. North of Copernicus are the Montes Carpatus, which lies at the south edge of Mare Imbrium. West of Copernicus is a group of dispersed lunar hills.

The crater Copernicus is estimated to be about 800 million years old, the time marking the start of the Copernican era in the Lunar geologic timescale. Due to its relative youth, the crater has received very little erosion and it remains sharp and well-defined.

Missing image
A view from lunar orbit, taken by Apollo 12.
Missing image
"Picture of the Century" — close-up of Copernicus interior from Lunar Orbiter 2.
Missing image
Copernicus is an easy target for amateur photographers with a small telescope.

The circular rim has a discernable hexagonal form, with a terraced inner wall and a 30-km wide, sloping rampart that descends nearly a kilometer to the surrounding maria. There are three distinct terraces visible, and arc-shaped landslides due to slumping of the inner wall as the crater debris subsided.

Most likely due to its recent formation, the crater floor has not been flooded by lava. The terrain along the bottom is hilly in the southern half while the north is relatively smooth. The central peaks consist of three isolated mountainous rises climbing as high as 1.2 km above the floor. These peaks are separated from each other by valleys, and they form a rough line along an east-west axis.

The crater rays spread as far as 800 kilometers across the surrounding maria, overlaying rays from the Aristarchus and Kepler craters. The rays are less distinct than the long, linear rays about Tycho crater, instead forming a nebulous pattern with plumy markings. In multiple locations the rays lay at glancing angles, instead of forming a true radial dispersal. An extensive pattern of smaller secondary craters can also be observed surrounding Copernicus, a detail that was depicted in a map by Giovanni Cassini in 1680. Some of these secondary craters form sinuous chains in the ejecta.

The Copernicus crater was given its name by Giovanni Riccioli, an Italian Jesuit who in conformity with church doctrine publicly opposed the heliocentric system revived by Copernicus. Riccioli is quoted as having "flung Copernicus into the Ocean of Storms" (Oceanus Procellarum); nevertheless in naming one of the most prominent craters on the Moon for the man, he may have indicated his true intent. Later the crater was nick-named "the Monarch of the Moon" by Thomas Gwyn Elger.

In 1966 the crater was photographed from an oblique angle by the Lunar Orbiter 2. At the time this detailed image of the lunar surface was termed the 'Picture of the Century'.

External links

Satellite craters

By convention these features are identified on Lunar maps by placing the letter on the side of the crater mid-point that is closest to Copernicus crater.

Copernicus Latitude Longitude Diameter
A 9.5° N 18.9° W 3 km
B 7.5° N 22.4° W 7 km
C 7.1° N 15.4° W 6 km
D 12.2° N 24.7° W 5 km
E 6.4° N 22.7° W 4 km
F 5.9° N 22.2° W 4 km
G 5.9° N 21.5° W 4 km
H 6.9° N 18.3° W 5 km
J 10.1° N 23.9° W 6 km
L 13.5° N 17.0° W 4 km
N 6.9° N 23.3° W 7 km
P 10.1° N 16.0° W 5 km
R 8.1° N 16.8° W 3 km
nl:Copernicus (Maan)

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