Lunar Exploratons

The search for change on the moon – a search in vain.



People have often fancied that the moon was an active world, even harboring life. Many observers, both professional and amateur, have believed that they stumbled onto visual evidence suggesting changes occurring on the moon, perhaps from vulcanism, perhaps due to life.

Feature: Observation Notes: Map (PDF)
1. Between the craters Walther and Gauricus. Best seen: April 3 in the morning sky; and April 21 in the evening sky.

2. Gassendi, crater. Best seen: April 5 in the morning sky; and April 24 in the evening
sky.
1. 1671. Several times, Giovanni Domenico Cassini thought he saw a misty formation, perhaps a cloud.

2. 1776. English astronomer William Herschel imagined that the shading variations on the crater floor were caused by the changing shadows of a vast forest containing trees that were several times taller than those on Earth.

Click on the image to print/view PDF
3. Hevelius, crater. Best seen: April 7 in the morning sky and April 27 in the evening.

4. Alhazen, crater. Best seen: April 14 and 15 in the evening sky.
3. 1787. German observer Johann Hieronymous Schroeter suspected that a volcano recently formed in the Hevelius crater.

4. 1791. Schroeter saw changes in the definition of the crater that he thought was possibly due to mist or vegetation.

Click on the image to print/view PDF
5. Two-thirds of the distance from Eratosthenes to Schroeter in Sinus Aestruum. Best seen: April 3 in the morning sky; and April 20 and 21 in the evening.

6. Sinus Iridum. Best seen: April 4 in the morning sky; and April 23 in the evening sky.
5. 1822. Bavarian observer Franz von Paula Gruithusien saw the layout of a great
lunar city, Wallwerk.

6. 1837. During the Great Moon Hoax, newspaper writer Richard Adams Locke reported that rational beings were said to live there.

Click on the image to print/view PDF
7. Messier and Messier A, craters. Best seen: April 16, and 17 in the evening sky, and April 29 and 30.

8. Cichus, crater in Mare Nubium. Best seen: April 4 in the morning sky; and April 22 in the evening sky.

7. 1855. Some observers, led by the renowned observer the Reverend Thomas William Webb, saw a change in their respective configurations.

8. 1859. Rev. Webb thought it had enlarged its diameter since Schroeter observed it seventy years earlier.

Click on the image to print/view PDF
9. Fracastorius, crater. Best seen: April 17 in the evening sky; and April 29 and 30 in the morning sky.

10. Plato, crater. Best seen: April 2 and 3 in the morning sky; and April 21 in the evening.
9. Circa 1870. French astronomer Jean Chacornac. Fragmentary walls believed to have formed from oceanic erosion.

10. 1869. English amateur astronomer William Radcliffe Birt encouraged his colleagues to closely examine the flat floor of Plato for any signs of change.
Click on the image to print/view PDF
11. Linne, small crater. Best seen: April 1 and 2 in the morning sky; and April 19 in the evening sky.

12. Hyginus N, near crater Hyginus along Rima Hyginus. Best seen: April 1 in the morning sky; and April 19 in the evening sky.
11. 1866. Johann Frederich Julius Schmidt, followed by others, thought that crater Linne had been damaged or transformed.

12. 1877. Hermann Klein, Director of the Cologne Observatory, found a dark patch near Hyginus crater, one that hadn’t been visible in earlier observations.
Click on the image to print/view PDF
13. Theophilus, crater. Best seen: April 1 in the morning sky; and April 18 in the evening sky.

14. Plinius, crater. Best seen: April 1 in the morning sky; and April 18 in the evening sky.
13. Circa 1900. Suspected snowstorms on the central peak were glimpsed by William Henry Pickering.

14. Circa 1900. Suspected snowstorms on the central peak were glimpsed by William Pickering.

Click on the image to print/view PDF
15. Alphonsus, crater. Best seen: April 3 in the morning sky; and April 20 in the evening sky.

16. Bullialdus, crater. Best seen: April 5 in the morning sky; and April 22 in the evening sky.
15. Circa 1900. Pickering attributed indistinct, dark areas on the crater floor to changing vegetation. He believed that he also saw snowstorms on its central peak.

16. Circa 1900. Suspected snowstorms on the central peak were glimpsed by William Pickering.
Click on the image to print/view PDF
17. Mons Pico, lone mountain. Best seen: April 3 and 4 in the morning sky; and April 21 in the evening sky.

18. Montes Recti, straight mountain range. Best seen: April 4 in the morning sky; and April 22 in the evening sky.

17. Circa 1900. Suspected snowstorms on the peak of this isolated mountain were glimpsed by William Pickering.

18. Circa 1900. Some observers saw it as an artificial construct. Suspected snowstorms were glimpsed by William Pickering.

Click on the image to print/view PDF
19. Eratosthenes, crater. Best seen: April 4 in the morning sky; and April 21 in the evening sky.

20. O’Neill’s Bridge, mistaken formation. Best seen: April 16 in the evening sky and April 28 in the morning sky.

19. 1924. William Pickering interpreted shading changes on the crater floor as being due to vegetation growth and migrating swarms of insects.

20. 1953. New York Herald Tribune science editor John J. O’Neill reported that he observed a twelve-mile-long natural bridge at the edge of Mare Crisium near the intersection of Promontorium Olivium and Promontrium Lavinium, just east of Proclus crater. Some believed it to be artificial, others saw nothing.

Click on the image to print/view PDF