Hitchhiker's Guide to Rukl Chart VII

Orientale Basin (Akkana)
[Orientale Basin] Probably the best-preserved large impact basin on the moon, Orientale's double concentric ring of mountains (Montes Rook and Cordillera) are unfortunately only visible as a libration feature; see chart 50 for a discussion of their edge-on appearance.

A poor-quality face-on view of the Orientale basin can be seen online via the Clementine image browser. A much better one is the Lunar Orbiter shot, which shows a face-on view of the Orientale basin as the terminator is passing through it.

The Highest Mountains on the Moon (Akkana)
The highest mountain on the moon is apparently Beta in the Leibnitz Range, at 36,000 feet, according to the Black Forest Observatory site.

The Times Atlas says:

"Most of the high land is in the southern hemisphere. Here are to be found the massive Leibnitz range with peaks of over 9,000 metres (30,000 feet) ..." This seems to be quite a bit larger than the next-highest features -- the Caucasus, Rook, Cordillera, and d'Alembert ranges all attain heights of 6000 m.

The prominence of the Leibnitzes was found quite early. Volume 1 of Celestial Objects for Common Telescopes by the Rev. T. W. Webb mentions the Caucasus range: "This grand mountain mass rises into insulated peaks, suitably termed 'aiguilles' by R. and M., as lofty as any on the Moon, those on the limbs excepted, and reaching 18,000 or 19,000 feet."

On chart 3, Webb mentions the "Doerfel Mountains. A region of enormous elevation, whose 3 principal summits are occasionally visible in grand profile. B. and M. admit that Schr. did not overestimate them at 25,000 or 26,000 ft." This sounds like part of the range around the Orientale basin which we now call the Cordilleras. Later in the same section, he describes the taller Leibnitzes:

Leibnitz Mountains. Ranges of colossal elevation break up the limb here, more than rivalling [the Doerfel Mountains], and far exceeding anything within the disc; several of the peaks measure nearly 30,000 ft., and Ne. gives a probable height of nearly 36,000 ft. to a huge mass, [epsilon] on his map, lying a little beyond the limb. I find a clear description and rough measure of them by Cassini, in 1724. Schr., who did not know this, observed them more correctly, and called them the Leibnitz Mountains.

Trying to find my way around Webb's map, it looks to me like the mountains he calls the Rooks and Cordilleras reverse the names from our current terminology (i.e. his chart shows the Rooks where our modern charts would show Cordilleras, and vice versa); his Doerfel mountains seem to be the far southern end of the Cordilleras, while the Leibnitz range seems to be located just outside the southern edge of the Cordilleras proper, near Valles Bouvard.

When I read about the "huge mass" I was excited, because I thought it might even be the paradoxical mountain in the Rook/Cordillera area which I've seen two or three times during favorable librations, and sketched once or twice. But my mountain is on the northern side of Orientale, not the southern side. I don't seem to have noticed any noticable masses on the south end. I shall pay special attention to that area when the next favorable libration for Orientale comes around.

The Highest point on the moon was found much more recently: The Register reports that the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA) measured a point near the Engel'gardt crater on the fringe of the Korolev plain at 10,786 meters (35,387 feet) above the lunar datum. The article includes a photo of the area, which is unfortunately on the lunar far side: Highest point on the Moon found

Moon-Lite Atlas for chart VIIChart 01>>

This page last modified: Oct 03, 2011
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The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Moon Compilation is © Copyright 1999,2000,2002 Akkana Peck.

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