Dark lava floor of crater Billy seen by SMART-1

Feb 20, 2006
Dark lava floor of crater Billy seen by SMART-1

This composite image, taken by the Advanced Moon Imaging Experiment (AMIE) on board ESA’s SMART-1 spacecraft, shows crater Billy at the edge of a large lava plain on the Moon.

The AMIE camera obtained two images in consecutive orbits, from a distance of about 1260 kilometres with a ground resolution of approximately 114 metres per pixel. Each image has a field of view of 56 kilometres.

Crater Billy is located on the southern fringes of the Oceanus Procellarum, on the western half of the Moon’s Earth-facing side (50° West, 13.5° South). It lies to the southeast of the similar-sized crater Hansteen and west south west of the lava-flooded crater Letronne.

The Oceanus Procellarum's southern area is low on spectacle but high in terms of geological interest. An irregular bay, the Mare Humorum on the edge of the ‘ocean’ can be seen below and to the east of the craters Billy and Hansteen.

Billy is an old impact crater, 46 kilometres in diameter, with a rim rising to 1300 metres above its flat floor. The floor of Billy has been flooded by basaltic lava with a low albedo, meaning it leaves a dark surface.

Billy's floor is one of the darkest spots on the Moon’s face, and can easily be seen any time when it is illuminated, even at full Moon. Billy contrasts with Hansteen, which is light-coloured with a hummocky floor.

Billy is named after the French Jesuit astronomer Jacques de Billy (1602-79), who was one of the first to reject the role of astrology in science, along with superstitious notions about the malevolent influence of comets.

Source: BNSC

Explore further: Scientists 'map' water vapor in Martian atmosphere

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Scientists 'map' water vapor in Martian atmosphere

13 minutes ago

Russian scientists from the Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT), together with their French and American colleagues, have ...

Water fleas prepared for trip to space

4 hours ago

Local 'Daphnia' waterfleas are currently being prepared by scientists at the University of Birmingham for their trip to the International Space Station (ISS), where they will be observed by astronauts.

The worst trip around the world

5 hours ago

As you celebrate the end of the year in the warmth of your home, spare a thought for the organisms riding with a third-class ticket on the International Space Station – bolted to the outside with no protection ...

Image: Multicoloured view of supernova remnant

5 hours ago

Most celestial events unfold over thousands of years or more, making it impossible to follow their evolution on human timescales. Supernovas are notable exceptions, the powerful stellar explosions that make ...

Ultra-luminous X-ray sources in starburst galaxies

5 hours ago

Ultra-luminous X-ray sources (ULXs) are point sources in the sky that are so bright in X-rays that each emits more radiation than a million suns emit at all wavelengths. ULXs are rare. Most galaxies (including ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.