2005 05 17 – Bullialdus and Rupes Recta

I kind of cringe reading some of my past reports. But they were the foundations of my learning curve for astronomy. We had moved in town to be closer to my elderly grandmother, Polly (to me, she was Nanny…and whom our observatory is partly named after). The constellations were barely visible in town and as you can imagine, star hoping was nearly impossible. To a novice, it took sheer determination and desire to learn more about the wonders of the night skies to attempt hunting for DSOs without proper alignment of a Goto scope. Because of this, the Moon was my favorite target…and the enthusiasm certainly showed.

17th May Night Out….Finally!

Let’s see, it was 21st April since my last session at the scope….I suppose that’s not entirely considered eons ago, but it sure felt like it. We set up both scopes….and although I’m sure it was my turn on the big fella, Paul wanted to image rocket bodies. He bought me an observing chair (like yours, Preston), so who was I to argue about the scope tonight?

Glancing at Plato, I was unable to see craterlets at 131x magnification on the ETX70. I was struggling to remember Tim’s suggestion at best viewing times for this, but I did recall lower magnification advice.

Somewhat disappointed, I thought….Matt had pointed out domes and I must get to that! But I wasn’t able to find them quickly in the velveteen Rukl, and I wasn’t in a fiddly mood, lest I waste precious time. So I let the slewing begin, soaking up the bright surface of the moon. It was almost like the warmth of the sun on my face after several days of rain and overcast. I truly needed this night of viewing, although it is now 20 till 2am and I will surly suffer for it tomorrow morning.

Bullialdus (along with A & B) were first to catch my eye. Keeping the 131 mags, the detail was not great because of a washboard effect from turbulent air. I chuckled to myself thinking of Carol and her magnificent sketches, and purposely defocusing her views. Here was my chance to try the same method, only without my consent….well you can see the sketch for yourself…definitely not a piece of art, but at least I can tell what it is. The shadows filled the entire crater except for the inside wall on the Western side. I’m sorry I omitted the directions on my sketch. West will be to the right, North at the top. That’s Konig partially in view at the lower right.

Bullialdus is approx. 63km wide but the height is around 10,600 feet. The central mountain was not visible due to the shadow, and really, I can’t recall seeing rays either with the ETX, however, when Paul was done with the big fella, I took a peak with that scope using just the 8mm Plossl and saw a detailed inner wall on the West as well as beautiful ridges running up the Eastern outer side. The vivid texture between the four craters in the sketch was amazing. Alas, my sketch was already done and no matter what I tried to add to it later, it just messed it up more.

By this time Paul was done with the big fella, so I had a quick peak at Plato again, and low and behold, you’ll never guess what I saw!….well ok, so you guessed. But I only saw one for sure, maybe two craterlets in Plato. I was well pleased and will look again at another date.

I’ve decided to start a collection of Lunar 100 sketches or images as well (this will not include Paul’s images), so although I’ve logged several objects off Chuck Wood’s list already, I’m going to begin again so I can include the sketches. Rupes Recta was the feature, but also included were Birt and his Rille.

Rupes Recta (Straight Wall) is close to 117km long, but only around 900 feet high and is said in Rukl to be the most remarkable fault on the moon. As remarkable as it was, that little Rima Birt was a cutie lying boldly beside the huge fault. This was my favorite part of the night as that area was so smooth with the odd detail here and there, it appeared to be lulling me to peaceful slumber.

After the umpteenth skeeter bite, visions of ticks crawling up my legs, and tiredness, I decided to pack it up and move it in….but not before opening up my new Messier marathon field guide. It seems I was a bit of entertainment for Paul…to orientate myself to find the constellations, I had to lay back across his car with the book pointed towards the sky in front of me, turned upside down. It’s hard to concentrate when you have someone laughing at you!

2005 rendering of Rupes Recta

Click here to read the 2010 Oct 17 report of Rupes Recta.

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~ by Erika Rix on December 3, 2010.

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