After processing the following picture of the moon I almost fell out of my chair when I noticed a "W" feature on the eastern (right) border of Mare Imbrium (the large maria in the upper portion of the following image).  Look at the following sequence until you see it.

Figure 1.  Do you see it?  Image taken 2001.02.05, 02:35 UT with a Meade LX200 10-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain f6.2, aperture stopped to 4-inches, using a Pictor 416XTE CCD imager with a f/3.3 Focal Reducer/Field Flattener, 0.004 second exposure time.

I'm going to crop out the area surrounding the point of interest.

Figure 2.  See it yet?

Let's zoom in on it.

Figure 3.  There!  As plain as can be, a BIG 'W'!

Figure 4.  Image taken 3 days later, at full moon phase (2001.02.08, 04:42 UT).

Figure 5.  Zoomed and higher contrast version of central portion of previous image, with "W" feature in the middle.

The "W" feature is located in a lowland area called "Palus Putredinus" - which means "rotten swamp."  It is bordered on the right by the "Appenine" mountains.  To the left of the "W" is crater Archimedes. According to Ernest Cherrington (Exploring the Moon Through Binoculars, New York: McGraw-Hill, 1969) "Not far from the center of the 'Rotten Swamp' a tiny black dot was reported by European astronomers on the night of September 13, 1959, a few minutes after the predicted time for the crash landing of the Soviet space probe Lunik 2 in that general area.  The dot expanded and faded for five minutes, being about 25 miles in diameter when last seen."

In light of the rather "unesthetic" name for this region, I suggest that it be renamed "Dubya."

More moon images that show the "Dubya" are at:

  (click this image to view larger version showing "Dubya" feature)

(click this image to see a larger version showing the Dubya feature)


This site opened:  February 5, 2001.  Last Update: September 11, 2001