Absorb yourself in Tycho

Appropriately named after one of the most colourful characters in astronomy, Tycho Brahe, Tycho is one of the most prominent craters on the Moon with its large, bright ray system dominating the southern hemisphere. Tycho is 85 km (53 miles) in diameter and is a relatively young crater at 108 million years old. Because it is young the rays have not been degraded and dulled by meteorite and micrometeorite impacts and still have a high albedo. So extensive are the rays that samples of impact melt glass thrown out by the impact that created Tycho were collected by the Apollo 17 astronauts from the Taurus Littrow region 2,000 km away. Tycho and it’s rays are most spectacular when viewed at full Moon when the Sun is overhead.

image: jules

The Lunar Reconaissance Orbiter Wide Angled Camera gives us a very different view of Tycho. Here we see the well preserved terraced crater walls and central mountains which are just visible in binoculars. So fresh are the features in Tycho that it is the perfect place to study the mechanics of how an impact crater forms.

click for high res version from NASA.

And here’s a close up of the rugged crater floor.


More information and another close up picture in this LROC News System article.

The NAC images of Tycho are well worth a tour. There are many NAC images of the crater floor – search on Lat -43, Long -11. Here are a few to start with:

Enjoy! You may be some time!

Jules is a volunteer moderator for the Moon Zoo forum

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