SMART-1 close-up on Zucchius crater’s central peaks

Jun 01, 2006
Crater Zucchius seen by SMART-1
Crater Zucchius seen by SMART-1

This image, taken by the advanced Moon Imaging Experiment (AMIE) on board ESA’s SMART-1 spacecraft, shows the central peaks of crater Zucchius.

AMIE obtained this image on 14 January 2006 from a distance of about 753 kilometres from the surface, with a ground resolution of 68 metres per pixel.

The imaged area is centred at a latitude of 61.3º South and longitude 50.8º West. Zucchius is a prominent lunar impact crater located near the southwest limb. It has 66 kilometres diameter, but only its inside is visible in this image, as the AMIE field of view is 35 kilometres from this close-up distance.

Because of its location, the crater appears oblong-shaped due to foreshortening. It lies just to the south-southwest of Segner crater, and northeast of the much larger Bailly walled-plain. To the southeast is the Bettinus crater, a formation only slightly larger than Zucchius.

Zucchius formed in the Copernican era, a period in the lunar planetary history that goes from 1.2 thousand million years ago to present times. Another example of craters from this period are Copernicus (about 800 milion years old) and Tycho (100 million years old). Craters from the Copernican era show characteristic ejecta ray patterns - as craters age, ejecta rays darken due to weathering by the flowing solar wind.

The hills near the centre of the image are the so-called ‘central peaks’ of the crater, features that form in large craters on the Moon. The crater is formed by the impact of a small asteroid onto the lunar surface. The surface is molten and, similarly to when a drop of water falls into a full cup of coffee, the hit surface bounces back, it solidifies and then 'freezes' into the central peak.

The name of Zucchius crater is due to the Italian Mathematician and astronomer Niccolo Zucchi (1586-1670).

Source: ESA

Explore further: Planck: Gravitational waves remain elusive

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Image: Messy peaks of Zucchius

Jul 21, 2014

Even to the naked eye, our Moon looks heavily cratered. The snippet of carved and pitted lunar surface shown in this image lies within a 66 km-wide crater known as Zucchius. From our perspective, Zucchius ...

Recommended for you

Planck: Gravitational waves remain elusive

Jan 30, 2015

Despite earlier reports of a possible detection, a joint analysis of data from ESA's Planck satellite and the ground-based BICEP2 and Keck Array experiments has found no conclusive evidence of primordial ...

What's happening in the universe right now?

Jan 30, 2015

There are some topics that get a little frustrating in their pedantry, but can really draw attention to the grand scope and mechanics in our Universe. This is definitely one of them.

The tell-tale signs of a galactic merger

Jan 29, 2015

The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has captured this striking view of spiral galaxy NGC 7714. This galaxy has drifted too close to another nearby galaxy and the dramatic interaction has twisted its spiral ...

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.