Observing the Moon: Tycho and LTP's

Jack Kramer

Tycho is one of the very youngest craters; its system of rays is the largest and most prominent, especially near the time of full moon. And it also appears to be a rather active crater in terms of LTP's (Lunar Transient Phenomena). LTP's are changes or activity of any kind involving a feature on the moon. The scientific value of this is that it suggests something about what's going on beneath the surface. In September, 1996, a dust cloud or outgassing was reported by amateur observers, and others have been requested to check this crater regularly for similar activity.

One lunar observer, David Darling, posted the following notice to the Association of Lunar and Planetary Observers (ALPO) home page at http://www.lpl.arizona.edu:80/alpo/

This report describes an apparent dust levitation or out- gassing taking place inside the crater Tycho. The report consisted of several observed events that culminated in the intense documentation by several observers and a battery of instrumentation and recording formats. The best evidence I was able to produce was a videotape of the illumination inside the crater floor. I have attempted to monitor this formation for repeat events but the colongitude or the weather has not been favorable.

What would you look for? basically, any bright spots or hazy patches in the crater. The best time to observe this in Tycho would be just after first quarter phase. The trick is to become familiar with Tycho's normal appearance through regular observation so any abnormal appearance would be recognized more readily. Reports of LTP activity may be sent to:


David O. Darling

416 West Wilson Street

Sun Prairie, Wisconsin 53590-2114

Home Phone 608-837-6054

E-Mail: DOD121252@aol.com

Published in the February 1997 issue of the NightTimes