Physics Photo of the Week

Warren Wilson College

October 8, 2004

Student Moon Photos

Moon The image at left is a photograph of the moon taken through an 8-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope by Cherie' Wilkinson for Astronomy Class on Sept. 23, 2004 when the moon was about 3/4 full.  Notice how the craters are much more pronounced near the terminator - the portion on the left-hand side of the illuminated portion of the moon.  The shadows of the lunar features are much more prominent near the terminator.  The sun illuminates the moon from the right.

moon image at the right was a closeup image made by Emma Bagget-Clark on Sept. 23, 2004.  Notice the relatively flat areas called Maria.  The maria were formed in the middle of the moon's history by a catastrophic event which either melted a large portion of the moon or released molten material from inside the moon.  These areas are also called "seas" although they never had any water.  The maria are relatively smooth because the moon has endured less bombardment by meteorites and asteroids after the maria were formed.  In the upper left, a couple of craters in the Mare Imbrium can be seen.

moon image on the left is taken earlier in the week (Sept. 20, by Roxy Todd).  Notice the difference between the percentage of illuminated area of the moon between this image and the image at the top of the page as a result of 3 days between the photos.

Web page layout by Dan Sockwell and Donald Collins
All the above photos were obtained through a Celestron Ultima 2000 telescope generously donated to the college by Bernard Arghiere.

Physics Photo of the Week is published weekly during the academic year on Fridays by the Warren Wilson College Physics Department.  These photos feature an interesting phenomena in the world around us.  Students, faculty, and others are invited to submit digital (or film) photographs for publication and explanation.  Atmospheric phenomena are especially welcome.  Please send any photos to

Click here to see all Physics Photo of the Week for 2004.