The region of Hadley Rille is one of my favorite parts of the Moon. Apollo 15 landed by the eastern extremity of this sinuous, collapsed tunnel made by giant, extinct, Moon gophers (well, that's as good an explanation as any), and well I remember the live video from the Moon's surface: The earlier Apollo landing sites had been relatively flat at the scale of stuff out on the horizon, but this southeastern corner of Palus Putredinis ("Houston, this is Putridity Base..." -- well, not quite) featured some spectacular up-and-down real estate, which awestruck earthbound viewers were privileged to enjoy vicariously from the perspective of a gawking tourist.
On this night at Lick I could again visit and clearly identify many of the sites on another world that I had long ago seen in real time, close up, from a camera on the Moon's surface. The rille itself stood out clearly, all the way from its origin to the southwest, past the Apollo 15 site, then northwest to the boundary of the flat land beyond the mountains. Hadley C was an easy small crater, as were the mountain masses Hadley and Hadley Delta. I looked for the small crater which bridges the rille at the north end of Hadley Delta, but it was beyond the resolution limit of the five-inch. (If memory serves, I have seen it in my Celestron 14.) The great, unstated lie of astronomy, which many of us unconsciously still accept, even today, is that "down here" is somehow different from "out there". Views and memories such as these firmly establish it as a falsehood. It ain't so, it never was, and it never will be.
Mount Hadley showed off much detail, including two obvious mounds on the east side of the peak and several light areas on the mountain were easily seen at 250X.
It is a truly stunning observing experience to realize that you are viewing an area of the Moon where astronauts have explored (Apollo 15).
The terrain in this area is extremely rugged, then plunges to the flat floor of the Putrid Marsh. This was a very interesting area, and I spent lots of time here.
Then again, how does one get an Alpine Valley?
|Moon-Lite Atlas for chart 22