Saturday, December 9, 2017

Jukebox Saturday Night for December 9th, 2017: The Grusin Friends & Strangers, Franklin You'll Never Know, & Springsteen Born to Run Edition

Let's start out with something really nice ...


"Friends and Strangers" by Dave Grusin from his album Mountain Dance (1979)

I know this YouTube version states that this song is from 1980 but I think the album with this song was released in 1979.

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As I wrote when I featured him in this Jukebox Saturday Night edition, Dave Grusin, now 83, is a prolific composer, arranger, and pianist who has produced pieces too numerous to list out here for so many movies and TV shows, and he has won 10 Grammys and one Academy Award for his music. He was composer for The Graduate, On Golden Pond, and Tootsie, among other films

I've featured him in earlier musical entries including this JBSN one and this antecedent FNMI one (both for having written the "Theme to St. Elsewhere" that I so love).

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Next up, another really nice piece ...


"You'll Never Know" by Rodney Franklin from his album of the same name (1980)

Source here.

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Finally, let's end with an all-around great song ...


"Born to Run" by Bruce Springsteen from his album of same name (1975)

According to the Keeper of All Knowledge: "Written at 7½ West End Court in Long Branch, New Jersey in early 1974, the song was Bruce Springsteen's final attempt to become successful. The prior year, Springsteen had released two albums to critical acclaim but with little commercial movement."

Long Branch, New Jersey is, of course, my home town -- but that was a lifetime ago.

Backyard picturesque snowy view at my coworker's house in White Oak / Silver Spring, Md., 4:07PM Dec. 9, 2017.

I went to my coworker/friend's house for a "White Elephant" holiday party. I'm back home now in my wee D.C. efficiency -- not going to the OTHER "white elephant" party to which I was invited at Jake and Matt's in Arlington, but instead watching my MeTV Super Sci-Fi Saturday night line up.

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OK, that's all for now. My next update might not be until late Tuesday (early Wednesday) as I have to finish something at work on Monday that might keep me there late (and thus postpone my gym visit until Tuesday night).

--Regulus

Saturday Evening Post for December 9th, 2017: The Southern Snows Edition

**This entry was posted December 9th, 2017.**

Finn enjoying his first-ever snow.

Chris sent me this picture. It was taken near where he lives just north of Atlanta, Ga. More on the Southern snowfall below.

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Just a brief update on our first snowfall of the season ...

In a word, underwhelming for the Baltimore/Washington area, but given that I have plans tonight to attend a house party up in White Oak (Maryland) and then have plans with Damon tomorrow to walk down to Washington Harbour in Georgetown, I'm actually relieved.

View from my apartment overlooking New Hampshire Ave by 16th and U Streets NW, Washington, D.C., 1:20PM December 9, 2017.

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Of note, the last time I was to see Damon, it was interrupted by a wild snowsquall -- and that was nearly two years ago. Now that he is married with two young sons, I basically never see him (yet he is one of the few people from that whole crowd of friends I had 3+ years ago with whom I've remained friends).

When all is said and done, National Airport (KDCA) will probably end up with 0.2 to 0.4 inches of snow and not much different at KIAD and KBWI.

The bigger -- indeed, historic -- story is the snowfall this system left in unusual places across the Southern United States stretching from Brownsville, Texas to the north Georgia mountains. Amounts ranged from a trace to a foot (in places that rarely get any).

The pictures of the Texas snowfall that follows are taken from this CWG entry (link embedded): See how this early winter storm coated the South in a rare snow.

A snowman in Brownsville, Texas made by someone with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Dec. 8, 2017.

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Brownsville, Texas officially (KBRO) had 0.3 inches of snow, obviously a daily record while Harlingen Int'l Airport (KHRL) had 1.0 inch. Corpus Christi also had 1.0 inch officially (KCRP) while Victoria, Texas (KVCR) had 2.0 inches and Laredo Int'l Airport (KLRD) 1.3 inches.

Corpus Christie -- yes, Corpus Christie, Texas -- on the morning of December 8, 2017 under a blanket of snow.

This is a very unusual scene.

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San Antonio officially recorded 1.9 inches at San Antonio Int'l Airport (KSAT) and Austin-Bergstrom Int'l Airport (KAUS) 1.3 inches. Houston Intercontinental Airport (KHOU) had 0.7 inches and Galveston (KGAL) a trace.

Traffic in an unusual heavy snowfall in Leon Springs (located in San Antonio), Texas, December 7, 2017.

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The big winner was College Station, Texas where officially at Easterwood Field Airport (KCLL) 5.0 inches fell -- which, I understand, is the second-heaviest single snowfall on record there.

Now this is a wild picture:

Snow-coated palm trees and a snowy beach along the Gulf of Mexico shoreline in South Texas, December 8, 2017.

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Places across central Mississippi had 2 to 4 to 6 inches of snow including 5.1 inches officially at Jackson-Medgar Wiley Evers International Airport (KJAN). Even Hattiesburg at Hattiesburg Bobby L. Chain Municipal Airport (KHBG) had 4.1 inches of snow.

Houston, Texas on a rare snowy night, December 7, 2017.

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As for Alabama, it was snowed under with serial teenage girl sexual predator and fully Trumpified fundamentalist lunatic Roy Moore, very likely to be elected this coming Tuesday -- with pride -- by the great citizens of that state.

December 8 - 9, 2017 snowfall map for parts of Georgia sent out by the NWS Atlanta in a tweet.

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Atlanta was on the edge of accumulating snowfall with Hartsfield-Jackson Int'l Airport (KATL) officially getting 0.8 inches but places on the north side of Metro Atlanta getting 3 to 6 inches of heavy, wet snow. Farther north in the high elevations there were totals of up to 10 inches with widespread amounts of 4 to 8 inches -- making it a historic snowfall for that region, esp. in December.

OK, that's all for now. I need to get ready and go.

--Regulus

Friday, December 8, 2017

A TrumpWorld December Not to Remember: Deep South Snows and Apocalyptic SoCal Fires

Brilliant December sunlight floods the grounds of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History along the walkway that runs parallel to the 9th Street Expressway (which runs under the National Mall), Washington, D.C., 1:17PM December 7, 2017.

I had to go to the Bank HO America on Pennsylvania Ave this afternoon -- and I took some pictures featured in this entry on the walk from and back to the office across the National Mall.

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Late night and I'm home after a good multipart gym workout but a work day that wasn't as productive as it should have been given that I have to complete two significant tasks by Monday (plus I have some weekend plans). I was going to start on the main editing assignment tonight -- and work into the wee hours -- but I'm just too damn tired.

National Mall view including the Washington Monument, Washington, D.C., 12:57PM December 7, 2017.

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As I write this, I'm watching an old Carol Burnett and Friends episode on MeTV. Looking back from all these decades later, the fact that Tim Conway would invariably leave Harvey Korman in stitches and just barely capable of staying in character (while Conway usually stayed fully in character) actually made those skits funnier than they would have been.

Later, I'll watch this and Perry Mason and perhaps The Twilight Zone, but then I need to go to bed.

Instead of working late tonight, I'll do my level best to get up early tomorrow and get into work earlier than I normally do.

View of the Washington Monument down the National Mall, Washington, D.C., 12:58PM December 7, 2017.

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So at this point, I would like to repost what will probably be the most memorable line from Sen. Al Franken's resignation speech in the Senate on Thursday:


Nevertheless, today I am announcing that in the coming weeks, I will be resigning as a member of the United States Senate. I, of all people, am aware that there is some irony in the fact that I am leaving while a man who has bragged on tape about his history of sexual assault sits in the Oval Office, and a man who has repeatedly preyed on young girls campaigns for the Senate with the full support of his party.


About that, Roy Moore really is a vile and reprehensible man who is almost certainly a sexual predator of under-aged girls (and that's not the only reason he is dangerously unfit to be a United States Senator.

But the next United States Senator from Alabama he is likely to be after Tuesday's special election -- and the ever-more-Trumpified GOP and its hideously toxic political/media ecosystem basically welcome that. Indeed, his loudest supporters are as vile as he is, and I don't even want to be in the same country.

To that point, I would like to call attention to these two pieces -- one by Slate writer Dahlia Lithwick and the other (as a sort of affirmative response) by the great Charlie Pierce. They are here (links embedded):


Sub-headline: Sure, don't stoop to their level. But let’s acknowledge that the game Republicans are forcing everyone to play insists morality is for losers.

Flowers just off the National Mall, Washington, D.C., 1:00PM December 7, 2017.

There was a sign explaining what type they were but I don't recall. These flowers were growing along the sidewalk near where 12th Street (not the expressway part that runs underneath the Mall) intersects Madison Drive NW.

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Closing paragraphs:

Who knows why the GOP has lost its last ethical moorings? But this is a perfectly transactional moment in governance, and what we get in exchange for being good and moral right now is nothing. I'm not saying we should hit pause on #MeToo, or direct any less fury at sexual predators in their every manifestation. But we should understand that while we know that our good faith and reasonableness are virtues, we currently live in a world where it's also a handicap.

Unilateral disarmament is tantamount to arming the other side. That may be a trade worth making in some cases. But it's worth at least acknowledging that this is the current calculus. It's no longer that when they go low, we get to go high. They are permanently living underground. How long can we afford to keep living in the clouds?

The William Jefferson Clinton (EPA) Building, Washington, D.C., 1:02PM December 7, 2017.

This is the old Ariel Rios Building before the name was changed.

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Closing excerpts:

Ah, but now, we are told, they have The Moral High Ground, as though you needed to throw one of your own overboard in order to have the moral standing to oppose seating an alleged child molester in the Senate, or to remind people that the president* copped to sexual assault on tape.

Lithwick is dead right. There is no commonly accepted Moral High Ground left to occupy anymore, and to pretend one exists is to live in a masturbatory fantasyland. It’s like lining yourself up behind Miss Manners in a political debate against Machiavelli.

The William Jefferson Clinton Building/Federal Triangle Complex, Washington, D.C., 1:04PM December 7, 2017.

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Continued excerpt:

Until the Democrats are willing to think asymmetrically about the very real political danger posed by the president* and his party, the danger will grow until it becomes uncontrollable, and that point is coming very soon, I fear. By the time the Democrats admit to themselves that their political opposition has moved so far beyond shame that it can’t even see Richard Nixon any more, the damage wrought to our political institutions may be beyond repair...

You look across a political landscape like the one that the last few decades have created, and the Moral High Ground looks like the lichen-mottled ruins of a dead civilization.

Dazzling sunlight through the bare trees near the Arts and Industries Building of the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., 1:21PM December 7, 2017.

The building was again closed.

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OK, let's turn to the weather ...

NWS weather advisories for the United States and adjacent waters updated 0440UTC December 8, 2017.

This is without the legend but those are winter storm warnings, winter weather advisories, and freeze warnings for far South Texas.

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So I should mention that the weather now has the prospect of accumulating snowfall here in the Metro D.C. and Baltimore areas on Saturday and Saturday night. What's more, the antecedent system -- a strong cold front pushing all the way into the Gulf of Mexico ushering in a broad 500-mb trough and including a strong upper level jet streak with isentropic lift -- is creating rain AND snow across South Texas tonight.

NWS Southern Plains sector composite radar mosaic looped 0308-0418 UTC December 8, 2017.

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Indeed, there is accumulating snow from San Antonio to College Station, Texas tonight. San Antonio Int'l Airport (KSAT) has had 1.4 inches of snow -- the most in a single event since 1987.

Caption from the San Antonio Express-News article (see link above): Matt Debrizzi and his dog, Huey, enjoy the snowfall near the intersection of Hurbner and Interstate 10 on Thursday night, Dec. 7, 2017.

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Yes: Snow at the Alamo and with a suitably-placed Christmas tree, San Antonio, Texas, Dec. 7, 2017.

This is an image you likely will not see again for quite some time.

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The system is forecasted to traverse the Deep South with accumulating snowfall (several inches) possible in parts of interior southern Mississippi and across central Alabama (where any snowfall will certainly be taken by the Fundie Faithful as a Sign from God to double down on voting for Roy Moore) and finally into Georgia where the Metro Atlanta area could have a few inches of snow (along with substantial amounts in the north Georgia mountains and Smoky Mountains).

NWS/WPC surface weather forecast map valid hour 48 / 12Z December 9, 2017.

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Waves of low pressure will ride along the stalled frontal boundary across the northern Gulf of Mexico and then up the Southeastern U.S. coast until finally a single intensifying coastal low pressure takes over and becomes a nor'easter off the New England coast.

Snowfall projections from the 0Z Dec. 8, 2017 3-km resolution NAM through hour 60 / 12Z Dec. 10, 2017 for the northeastern Lower 48 in an image prettied up by the TropicalTidbits.com site.

Note: This assumes a 10:1 ratio of snow-to-liquid and that everything sticks (which won't happen).

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Accumulating snowfall is looking likely along the coastal plain and as far west into the Blue Ridge. Finally, the low should intensify into a nor'easter off the coast of New England as it pulls away. This will be followed by a minor clipper system that accompanies a re-enforcing shot of Arctic air and establishes a deep upper level trough for a few days across the northeastern U.S. before that passes offshore.

Snowfall projections from the 0Z Dec. 8, 2017 3-km resolution NAM through hour 60 / 12Z Dec. 10, 2017 for the southeastern Lower 48 in an image prettied up by the TropicalTidbits.com site.

Note: Again, this assumes a 10:1 ratio of snow-to-liquid and that everything sticks (which won't happen).

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I should also note that there is an absolutely devastating series of wildfires burning across Southern California creating scenes that are nothing less than apocalyptic -- and destroying so far 400+ homes and buildings in Ventura County.

Hillside wildfires raging out of control right next to a busy freeway in Southern California, early December 2017.

I don't have an exact date or location for this image but it was in the last 72 hours.

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These fires are new ones -- and in addition to the October conflagration in Sonoma and Napa Counties that burned 200,000 acres, destroying 8,400 buildings and homes and killing 42 people (the highest ever in the state for a fire).

Aerial view of the Thomas Fire in Ventura County, Calif., December 7, 2017; Photo by Twitter user Brad Guay.

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OK, I think that's all for now. Obviously, this entry got way ahead of what I intended to post -- and it is damn near 3AM.

Unless we get a signficant snowfall, my next planned entry will be on Saturday -- and it will likely be just a Jukebox Saturday Night Edition that I post early (since I am going to a coworker friend's house party up in the White Oak area of Silver Spring, and I'm catching a ride with someone). On Sunday, I might be meeting Damon, whom I've not seen in nearly two years.

Side view of the Smithsonian Castle, Washington, D.C., 1:22PM December 7, 2017.

Signing off for now.

--Regulus

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

La Bella Luna: The Children of Earth Love You, Awesome Moon

This is the picture of the Full Moon at present in the Wikipedia article on the Moon. Here is additional information: Full Moon photograph taken Oct. 22, 2010 from Madison, Alabama, USA. Photographed with a Celestron 9.25 Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope. Acquired with a Canon EOS Rebel T1i (EOS 500D), 20 images stacked to reduce noise. 200 ISO 1/640 sec. Photo by Gregory H. Revera. Source here. Large image here.

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There was a Full Moon on Dec. 3rd -- specifically, the "Full Cold Moon" -- that was also the one and only "supermoon" of 2017. As the Space.com article states:


Supermoons happen when a full moon approximately coincides with the moon's perigee, or a point in its orbit at which it is closest to Earth. This makes the moon appear up to 14 percent larger and 30 percent brighter than usual. The moon becomes totally full at 10:47 a.m. EST (1547 GMT) on Sunday (Dec. 3). It will officially reach perigee less than 24 hours later on Monday (Dec. 4) at 3:45 a.m. EST (0845 GMT), when it is 222,135 miles (357,492 kilometers) away from Earth.

Source here.

The CWG featured two entries with photographs of this Supermoon (links embedded):



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So why does the Moon keep the same face (side) to the Earth?

Because the Moon is far less massive than the Earth and has therefore become tidally locked owing to a torqueing effect of the Earth on the Moon that has caused the Moon's orbital rotation rate about the Earth and its axial rotation rates to tbe the same -- or rather, ALMOST the same.


The Moon is not fully tidally locked, but instead there is a minor libration (see animated gif below) that allows us to see about 59% of the lunar surface over the course of its phases. In terms of size and mass, while the Moon is roughly one-quarter the size of Earth, it is only about 1.2% of its mass (since it is poor in heavy metals such as iron and nickel).

Caption: Simulated views of the Moon over one month, demonstrating librations in latitude and longitude. Also visible are the different phases, and the variation in visual size caused by the variable distance from Earth; source article here (yes, Wikipedia again).

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The side facing the Earth looks markedly different than the far ("dark") side as a result of this tidal locking with the darkened "seas" -- ancient lava beds -- still visible. Each sea ("mare") has a name, of course.

The Full Moon with the main maria (that's "mare" plural) labeled along with the really large craters (e.g., Tycho, Copernicus, Kepler).

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The two sides look very different with the maria mostly missing on the far side. The far side is fully exposed to space and has had far more meteor bombardment over the billions of years of the Moon's existence. But the reason for the lack of maria is because the crust of the far side is much thicker -- so the lava was not able to emerge during meteor bombardment. Why the crust is so different between the two faces is unknown. Here is a Phil Plait piece from July 2014 giving some ideas on the matter.

Here is the near and far sides of the Moon, respectively, in a side-by-side composite images.

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Sunlit views of the far side -- which occurs when the Moon is in new phase -- are visible in the following two glorious lunar photobombing image series taken about a year apart. Both were captured by the Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC) camera aboard the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) satellite located at a fixed point 1 million miles from Earth.

Yes, this animated image is "for real" (although, necessarily, processed somewhat).

As explained by NASA:

EPIC maintains a constant view of the fully illuminated Earth as it rotates, providing scientific observations of ozone, vegetation, cloud height and aerosols in the atmosphere. Once EPIC begins regular observations next month, the camera will provide a series of Earth images allowing study of daily variations over the entire globe. About twice a year the camera will capture the moon and Earth together as the orbit of DSCOVR crosses the orbital plane of the moon.

These images were taken between 3:50 p.m. and 8:45 p.m. EDT on July 16, showing the moon moving over the Pacific Ocean near North America. The North Pole is in the upper left corner of the image, reflecting the orbital tilt of Earth from the vantage point of the spacecraft.

The second awesome photobombing happened on July 5, 2016 (again when the Moon was in new phase since the Sun is almost directly between behind the satellite and fully illuminated the Earth):


To be clear, the Moon orbits the Earth in the same direction that the Earth rotates -- only the Earth rotates much faster. This is why the Moon appears to rise in the east and set in the west even as it "retrogrades" to the east from new to full and back to new.

You can read about the second EPIC capture of the Moon passing in front of the Earth from its perspective here. In both the animated gifs, you can see how featureless is the far side of the Moon (although in both that one circle mare called by the Russians the "Sea of Moscow" is visible). 

As for the Moon's many stunning surface features ...

Above: Close up of the enormous Tycho Crater with the rays emanating from it. The crater is about 85-km across.

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Close up image of the Tycho Crater floor as seen by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. What's so noteworthy about Tycho is how young it is -- estimated at 108 million years versus 3.9 billion for the ancient lunar maria.

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As posited in the Giant-Impact Hypothesis, if indeed there was a colossal collision between the "proto-Earth" and another rocky Mars-sized body ("Theia") occurred in the early Solar System to form the Earth-Moon system, the far more massive Earth quickly torqued the newborn Moon so that it quickly became tidally locked to our planet. In this scenario, the Moon was able to form because the disk of material -- similar to Earth's mantle -- was just beyond the Earth's Roche limit.) 


In the angular momentum exchange, the Moon receded to its current position while the Earth gradually spun down to its current 24 hours. The Moon continues to recede from the Earth at about 1 inch a year while lunar tidal drag slows the Earth's rotation at about 2 milliseconds per century. (These rates were much faster when the Moon was much closer.)

The ocean tides on the early Earth would have been stupendous since the height factors as the inverse of the cube of the distance separating the bodies. (To be clear, there are both ocean and land tides. Obviously, ocean tides are far greater.)


As a result of the tidal locking, if you were on the Earth-facing side of the Moon, the Earth would never move in the sky -- except for a slight oscillation that is the flip side of the aforementioned libration. However, you would see the Earth spin on its axis over 24 hours, so you would see all parts of the Earth. (That should be obvious since there is no place on Earth where you can never see the Moon.)

Close up of Mare Crisium and the limb of the Moon.

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One feature of the Moon that has long intrigued me is the roughly circular mare on the upper limb of the Moon (in about the 2 o'clock position). That is Mare Crisium (Sea of Crises) -- see image directly above. Slightly oval in shape, its east-west diameter is variously put between 350 and 450 miles. This means it is a big bigger (but not by too much) than the State of Iowa.

Mare Crisium in the 6-day old Moon; image by J. Ferreira.

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Another part of the Moon that intrigues me is the mountainous boundary between Mare Imbrium (Sea of Showers (Rains)) and Mare Serenitatis (Sea of Serenity).

Those two enormous maria form the right and left "eyes," respectively, of the "Man in the Moon" pareidolic image (with Mare Tranquillitatis (Sea of Tranquility) making up the rest of the left eye.

Left: Iconic image from the movie Le Voyage dans la Lune (1902).

But it is the huge mountain ranges known as Montes Caucasus (the Caucasus Mountains) and Montes Apenninus (the Apennine Mountains) that particularly intrigue me. For one thing, they were probably formed with the impactor that created Mare Imbrium. The Montes Apenninus also contain some of the highest mountains on the Moon -- with Mons Huygens (Mount Huygens) the highest mountain (though not the highest point) on the Moon at approximately 18,000-feet above the surrounding plain.

A close-up of Montes Apenninus (lower end of the arc) and Montes Caucasus (upper end) with a gap between them. To the west is Mare Imbrium and to the east Mare Serenitatis.

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When the Moon is in a waxing crescent phase -- around 40 to 45 percent -- the topography of these two ranges is such that if you look really closely with the naked eye, you can actually seen a slight perturbation (wrinkle) in the terminator line as result of the peaks of these mountains (in particular, the Montes Apenninus) being bathed in lunar morning sunlight while the valleys are still in darkness.

Here is a nice image taken by Mike O'Hara ("Space Mike") with the features along the terminator line labeled. This is a waxing crescent Moon 42 percent illuminated. You can see how those mountain ranges -- not to mention the western crater walls of the Albategnius and Klein craters -- are illuminated in sunlight.

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As for Montes Caucasus, here is what the Apollo 15 astronauts photographed while on revolution 35 at 106 km above the lunar surface on December 31, 1970:


Above: This is an oblique view from south-to-north. There are three craters that caught my attention because I think I see them in the picture above of the boundary of the Mare Imbrium and Mare Serenitatis. First off, though, here are the three craters (numbered below):


Above: The same view of Montes Caucasus facing north with the three craters noted (1, 2, and 3). They are located as follows: Just west of Montes Caucuses (1), on the western flank of the mountain range (2), and in the middle of the northern edge of the range (3).


Above: The yellow region is my best estimate of the region encompassed in the Apollo 15 image), although perhaps the far arc is a bit closer. My main point is that the three craters in the image directly above -- 1, 2, and 3 -- are quite possibly same as those in the Apollo 15 flyover view that I numbered as 1, 2, 3, respectively.

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Finally, here is another fascinating feature on the Earth-facing side of the Moon: A crater called Aristarchus that is the brightest (highest albedo) object on this face:

A close-up of Aristarchus and the lunar limb.

Aristarchus is 25 miles (40-km) across and reaches a depth of 2.3 miles (3.7-km).

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According to the Keeper of All Knowledge (which won't stop begging for money this month):

Aristarchus is bright because it is a young formation, approximately 450 million years old, and the solar wind has not yet had time to darken the excavated material by the process of space weathering. The impact occurred following the creation of the ray crater Copernicus, but before the appearance of Tycho. Due to its prominent rays, Aristarchus is mapped as part of the Copernican System.

A close up of Aristarchus seen during the Apollo 15 flyover.


OK, I'm going to wrap up this entry but not before I say the following:

The Moon very likely has played an important role in the evolution of life on our planet. For one thing, the presence of the Moon stabilizes the tilt of Earth between 24.5 and 21 degrees -- allowing for stable climate zones (e.g., the Amazon Rain Forest doesn't end up in the polar night region).

Conversely, the Moon creates ocean and land tides that over the course of our planet's lifetime have kept it active in both a volcanic / plate tectonic sense and a biological mixing sense. This was especially true when the Moon was much closer (and the tidal effects correspondingly greater).

The Full Cold Moon as seen through an array of blue Christmas lights, December 3, 2017;
Image by George Jiang and reposted in this CWG entry.

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It is probably not an overstatement to say that without the Moon, Earth might not have developed life, at least not in the incredibly diverse and complex way it has. Also, given how the Moon likely formed, it is probably rare for a rocky planet such as Earth to have a "twin" so near in size so close to it.


All in all, the having the Moon is a very, very, very good thing for Earth. And we love the Moon.

--Regulus