With the Moon now in its last crescent phase visible after midnight and before sunset, the next nights offer the last chance to take ground-based pictures of the SMART-1 impact site in the sunlight.
In the nights of 18 and 19 August 2006, observations can be used for reconnaissance maps of the surface features, possibly in various colours. On 20 August the terminator (the line separating the Moon’s dayside from the night-side) will be near the Lake of Excellence. This is a perfect opportunity to map the long shadows over the still uncertain topography of the area. Amateur and professional astronomers are encouraged to image the areas at these dates for a detailed analysis of the area’s relieves.
On 21 August the Lake of Excellence will be in the dark from the Sun, but it will be well illuminated by the Earthshine, with Earth presenting a gibbous face. Ground observations on this date can be a good rehearsal to recognise in the potential sites of impact in Earthshine light, in preparation for observations on the night of impact itself.
"From 4 September, the SMART-1 impact site will come back into sunlight", says SMART-1 Project Scientist Bernard Foing, "So it will be possible to search for SMART-1 ejecta blanket, by comparison with previous images. "
Follow this link to find more information about SMART-1 impact site observations.
For more information
Bernard Foing, ESA SMART-1 Project Scientist
E-mail: bernard.foing @ esa.int