Languages of the Moon

August 09, 2023

Ormefoto terminatore

Photographer: Orazio Mezzio  
Summary Author: Orazio Mezzio  

The Moon speaks to us about itself in different ways. Craters we observe in wonder tell us their story that can be deciphered using a code of its colors -- each chromatic variation reveals the materials that make it up. So, the 'mineral Moon' is revealed in a wealth of elements ranging from ancient red patches rich in iron dust to young blue patches colored by titanium.

However, on the surface of our natural satellite, with a little imagination, one can discover other signs that, although they have no scientific implications, indirectly help those who seek to study it study it through patient observation. Note that the line that marks the transition between the illuminated zone and the dark part of the Moon is called the lunar terminator. From the Earth during the first and third quarter phases we see this transition between lunar day and night as a straight line.

But one day a month, and for a maximum of four hours, just before the terminator becomes a straight line, the play of shadows of the sidereal cavities shows some singular optical effects, allowing us to even see an X, a V and even an L. Among these craters, some are named after historical European astronomers: Blanchinus, La Caille, Purbach, and Ukert. Photo taken on April 27, 2023, from Sicily, Italy.

Photo details: Captured using in a single shot -- super zoom; Nikon D750 camera; Sigma 150-600 lens, 600 mm; F/8; 1/250 second exposure; ISO 800 -

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