Guinness Book of Lunar Records

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The Guinness record moonquiz

Many years ago, the once very active contributor RonBee asked a most intriguing question:

  • What are the extremes for lunar surface formations and other moon-related curiosities... ...and so a new list was born. Please add questions, and answers, with the reference to document the answer.

QUESTION: What crater has the darkest floor?
ANSWER: Possibly Cruger (or Zupus) on the moon's nearside. The so-called dark floor of farside crater Tsiolkovsky is a contrast phenomenon. Tsiolkovsky's floor is probably of the same albedo-value as the commonly known mare-regions on the moon's near side. Perhaps the most dark (low-albedo) area on the entire moon's surface is the less-known Mons Moro in Mare Cognitum (which is a very dark spot on a dark mare!), or... the small unnamed and exceptionally dark craterlet southwest of Lassell D and Lassell J (which was photographed by the onboard Fairchild- and Itek-cameras in the orbiting Command-Service Module of Apollo 16).
Other dark regions:
- Near and around Rima Hadley (Apollo 15's landing site).
- The Taurus Littrow valley (Apollo 17's landing site).
- The dark spots on the floor of Alphonsus, of which one of them was nicknamed Lake Titicaca by Ewen A. Whitaker.

QUESTION: Which is the largest crater on the Moon - excluding those we call Mare ;-)
ANSWER: Bailly, with a diameter of 287 km is the largest crater in the IAU list, but all the the impact basins (just craters on steroids) are bigger.

QUESTION: Which one of the officially named lunar craters (on the moon's near side) is the most difficult one to detect?
ANSWER: Louville, which isn't a crater at all!
On the moon's far side it's Tikhomirov. Another difficult one is St.John.

QUESTION: Which is the brightest crater on the Moon, is it really Aristarchus? I see many bright white craters during full moon but they're all smaller than Aristarchus. I would like to know if these smaller ones are actually brighter.
ANSWER: Example number one is probably the exceptionally bright craterlet between nearside craters Menelaus and Julius Caesar (at the northwestern end of Sinus Honoris). Apollo 15's orbital Hasselblad photographs AS15-92-12545 to 12548 show close-ups of that bright craterlet, but the poor quality of these photographs reveal not very much except the (almost snowy white) appearance of the craterlet's ejectablanket and interior. See: Apollo 15's Magazine OO/92

QUESTION: Which is the longest rille?
ANSWER: ? (good question!).

QUESTION: Roughest crater?
ANSWER: I would say Tycho (or another one of the major ray craters, such as Aristarchus, or farside raycrater Giordano Bruno).

QUESTION: Deepest crater?
ANSWER: According to several moonbooks it should be Newton near the moon's southpole.

QUESTION: What crater has the most pronounced central peak?
ANSWER: Alpetragius, of which its "egg-shaped" central peak is often nicknamed Egg-in-a-nest.

QUESTION: Crater with smoothest floor?
ANSWER: Maybe Billy of the nearside pair Billy-Hansteen.

QUESTION: Which one of the moon's raycraters has the most beautiful and most "well-organized" ray system?
ANSWER: The most beautiful and most well-organized lunar raycrater is Pierazzo near crater Lents, on the moon's farside. Its pinpoint location is 3°10' North/ 100° West (east-northeast of Lents). See LAC 72 in B.Bussey's and P.Spudis's Clementine Atlas of the Moon.

QUESTION: Where's the longest lunar ray?
ANSWER: Probably one of Tycho's rays which runs over Bessel in Mare Serenitatis.

QUESTION: Is there a crater on the moon which has dark rays instead of bright?
ANSWER: Yes, it's Dionysius near the western "coastline" of Mare Tranquillitatis. See page 36 in the 21st Century Atlas of the Moon (Wood/ Collins).

QUESTION: What's the most colorful region on the moon? Where is it?
ANSWER: It's Wood's Spot (aka the Aristarchus plateau, northwest of nearside craters Aristarchus and Herodotus) which looks distinctly mustard-colored, especially when it is observed during and after Full Moon. Once investigated by R.W.Wood, hence its informal name Wood's Spot.

QUESTION: Which one of the official names of the 88 constellations is also the name of a lunar surface formation?
ANSWER: There are two: Cepheus and Hercules. Both names of northern hemisphere constellations are also the names of two craters on the northern hemisphere of the moon's nearside.

QUESTION: What starname is also the name of a lunar surface formation?
ANSWER: There's more than one starname on the moon! See short list below:
- Atlas, a nearside crater, which is also the name of the star 27 Tauri in the Pleiades star cluster.
- Capella, a nearside crater, which is also the name of the star Alpha Aurigae.
- Isis, a possible volcanic cone west-southwest of Mons Argaeus, which is also the name of the star Mu Canis Majoris. Note: Isis is also the name of a main-belt asteroid: 42 Isis.
- Vega, a nearside crater, which is also the name of the bright star Alpha Lyrae.
- There's also the strange case of Ivan, which is a small crater near Rimae Prinz. The reverse of Ivan (Navi) is the unofficial name of the star Gamma Cassiopeiae (see Gamma Cassiopeiae).

QUESTION: What planet in our solar system has its name also on the lunar surface?
ANSWER: Planet Mercury, as Mercurius (a crater on the moon's near side).

QUESTION: Which one of the names of lunar surface formations is also the name of a possible planet around another star?
ANSWER: Osiris, which is the name of a possible volcanic cone west-southwest of Mons Argaeus, and also the name of a possible planet around the star HD 209458 in the constellation Pegasus.

QUESTION: What's visually the most red-colored star which could be occulted by the moon?
ANSWER: 119-CE Tauri, which is nicknamed "Ruby Star". This star is located about 4 and a half degrees south-preceding of the ecliptic's most northern part (very much near the junction of the constellations Taurus, Gemini, and Orion). 119-CE Tauri's location is about 3 and a half degrees south of the well-known "Crab Nebula" (Messier 1, which could also be occulted).

QUESTION: Is the name Quetelet a unique case in the IAU's gazetteer of lunar nomenclature?
ANSWER: Yes it is, because it is the only official name that starts with "Q" !

QUESTION: Which one of the Apollo-missions returned home with only one photograph of the moon?
ANSWER: Apollo 9, which was a mission in orbit around Earth; to test the capabilities of the weightless Lunar Module (LM "Spider"). The photograph of the moon is AS09-23-3500 (a snapshot of the Last Quarter Moon).

QUESTION: Which one of the six manned Apollo LEMs (Lunar Excursion Modules) landed most northerly?
ANSWER: Apollo 15's LM Falcon near Rima Hadley.
Apollo 16's LM Orion was the most southern one (near Descartes), Apollo 17's LM Challenger was the most eastern one (Taurus-Littrow valley), and Apollo 12's LM Intrepid was the most western one (southeast of Lansberg).
The most northern site of an unmanned lander is very near craterlet Laplace FA, south of Montes Recti (Chang'e-3), and the most southern site of an unmanned lander is immediately north of raycrater Tycho (Surveyor 7).

QUESTION: Which lunar lander landed in the immediate neighbourhood of another lander which was already on the moon?
ANSWER: Apollo 12's LM Intrepid near the unmanned lander Surveyor 3. Astronauts Charles Conrad and Alan Bean (Apollo 12) investigated Surveyor 3 during their excursions on the moon.
Surveyor 6 landed very near the remains of the crash-landed Surveyor 4, in the western part of Sinus Medii.

To be continued...