It's one of the most recognized feature of the moon when humans look up at it. It's had different names in the past:
The earliest known is "Umbilicus Lunaris" meaning "The Navel Of The Moon".
It's also been called "Vladislai IV" in 1645 in honor Władysław IV Vasa, King of Poland.
Johannes Hevelius called it "Mons Sinai" after Mount Sinai.
Eventually the name Tycho was given to it in honor of Tycho Brahe, a Danish astronomer that lived from 1546 to 1601.
Tycho stands out to many due to it's over all brightness, and the ejecta rays that scatter from it.
At over 86 km in diameter, it's a large feature that shows up well in both telescopes and binoculars. Even without them, it stands out to the human
eye. Both when being lit by sun light
And even when it's being lit by Earth shine:
Tycho is considered a young crater being formed around 108 million years ago by an impactor that was somewhere between 2 miles and 4 miles wide.
Looking at the crater, we can imagine what that impact must have looked like.....especially if it had been night with that side of the moon in
darkness. The fireball would have been tremendous, lighting up our night sky to daylight briefly.
While a sight like that would be awsome to behold, it would also make me very worried about impact ejecta reaching here to the Earth.
Tycho being so well known, has been featured in many pop culture references. It was the spot of the monolith in Arthur C. Clarke's 2001: A Space
Odyssee, Robert Heinlein in his book, The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress refered to a habitat built at Tycho, Star Trek even had a Tycho City.
Even the movies Men In Black refered to Tycho in a line about a treaty.
One of the things that I love to do is take close up looks at Tycho using images from the LROC that I thought I would share with you:
In this picture you can imagine the ground being molten after the impact, then slowly cooling, forming the flowing looking rock, folds and cracks we
see in it:
On the rim of the crater, you can see how it's terraced, with flows that etched through the rock faces:
Other places where the rock cooled quickly, cracked and formed bolders:
Is it a impact crater or not? Looks like a lava chamber cooled and contracted to where the surface collapsed:
These are the central peeks that rise in the center of Tycho. They rise 2 km from the crater floor:
Last, is a interesting pic to me. I found some rocks...laying in a circle:
Here is the coordinates for those rocks in case anyone else would like to go look at them:
Over all the moon itself is just fun to look at, especially up close and personal like the LROC can make it. For any that enjoy doing this too, but
don't know how, here is a link to the LROC Quick Maps, where you can explore to your heart's content:
LROC Quick Maps
Hope you enjoyed taking a closer look at Tycho Crater.
edit on 2-6-2013 by eriktheawful because: (no reason given)
2-6-2013 by eriktheawful because: (no reason given)
edit on 3-6-2013 by spacedoubt because: minor spelling edit