Montes Jura

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Montes Jura (and the Golden Handle effect)

Lat: 47.1°N, Long: 34.0°W, Diam: 422 km, Height: 3 km, Rükl: 10, Lower Imbrian

external image normal_061003_Sinus%20Iridum_Tar.jpg
George Tarsoudis
In George's composite photograph of the Sinus Iridum / Montes Jura region, the much admired Clair-Obscur phenomenon known as the Golden Handle effect or Jewelled Handle is still visible, although the morning terminator was already too westward. See the description of the Golden Handle / Jewelled Handle below the Additional Information section.


LPOD Photo Gallery Lunar Orbiter Images Apollo Images

  • A remarkable color photograph of the Waning Crescent Moon, made by Dominique Dierick, shows the opposite phenomenon of Patrick Moore's Jewelled Handle Effect (see George Tarsoudis' photo above). The shadowed Montes Jura and the partially illuminated Sinus Iridum (sunset light, as seen in Dominique's photo) was also depicted by Harold Hill in his subtle drawing on page 88 of the book A Portfolio of Lunar Drawings.- DannyCaes Jul 24, 2008
  • "The exploration of the Jura mountains on the Sinus Iridum, as seen from a crater in Mare Imbrium" is one of Chesley Bonestell's moon paintings, printed on page 24 of the Starlog Photo Guidebook SPACE ART by Ron Miller (1978).- DannyCaes Apr 19, 2012


(LAC zone 24A1) LAC map Geologic map


Although the dimension and position differ slightly, Montes Jura seems to be simply the IAU-approved name for the remnant of elevated ring, or rim, surrounding the crater known as Sinus Iridum.

Description: Wikipedia

Montes Jura

Additional Information

  • Depth data from Kurt Fisher database
    Viscardy, 1985: 6 km
    Cherrington, 1969: 3.87 km
  • Like must other large crater rims, the height of Montes Jura is quite varied, but nowhere extraordinarily tall. Promontorium Laplace (on the west) and Promontorium Heraclides (on the east) are local high spots, both rising a little over 3,000 m above the mare. Plate B19 in the Consolidated Lunar Atlas shows shadows cast by the area to the north of Promontorium Heraclides. The elevation of the peaks appears to drop rapidly to about 2,000 m, but isolated higher peaks are found to the north. The tallest that can be evaluated from these shadows is about 4,700 m tall, in the northwest curve. The eastern part of Montes Jura is not well situated for evaluation of its elevation from shadow measurements, because when the Sun is low in the east it tends to shine along the length on the range. Nonetheless, aside from the high point at Promontorium Laplace there is little evidence that this part of Montes Jura rises more than 1,500-1,700 m above the mare. The location of the 6,000 m peak found by Viscardy is not known to me. - JimMosher
  • The fate of the parts of Montes Jura one might expect to find to the south of Promontorium Laplace and Promontorium Heraclides seems to be unknown, although (according to the LPOD) faulting and subsequent flooding are suspected. - JimMosher

The Golden Handle effect (aka Jewelled Handle)

  • Observer's note: when the sunrise terminator is located at Sinus Iridum with its arc-shaped Montes Jura, the Golden Handle effect (aka Jewelled Handle) is in its full glory (this is a remarkable Clair-Obscur phenomenon described by Sir Patrick Moore in his moonbooks). The Golden Handle effect is one of the most binocular-friendly lunar Clair-Obscur phenomena! (you really don't need a powerful telescope to observe it!). Exactly 24 hours earlier the sunrise terminator was located at Copernicus. See LPOD 24 Hours.

The Golden Handle in Stanley Kubrick's 2001: a Space Odyssey

  • The Golden Handle at Montes Jura was very well depicted in the first appearance of the Waxing Gibbous Moon in Stanley Kubrick's 2001: a Space Odyssey, when the globe shaped lunar lander Aries departed en-route to the moon, with professor Heywood Floyd in it) (great music of Strauss!).

Buzz Saw (the opposite of the Golden Handle effect)


  • Named from terrestrial Jura Mountains.
  • Only name on Moon given by Debes (Whitaker, p. 227).
  • The cratered highland north of Montes Jura was once called the Rainbow heights. This name (nickname) appeared on a moonmap which was included in the LPOD of February 11, 2004.

LPOD Articles

Jagged Jura
The Jura and a Missing Rim
Light & Dark Rainbow Hues
Over the Rainbow (the Golden Handle effect).

LROC Articles

On the Shore of the Bay of Rainbows (a tiny ray-craterlet near the Montes Jura, at the most northern section of Sinus Iridum).


A Portfolio of Lunar Drawings (Harold Hill), pages 88, 89.