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Moon Craters


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Hello everyone

I really enjoy the photographs of the moon that members take and I think it's amazing the details I can see with my telescope but I was wondering why the craters that I can see all are what I think I would call direct hit craters and not long shallow impacts such as there might be if something hits the moon at a low angle for example, would this be because the moon has never had an atmosphere So there is nothing to slow anything down that hits the moon.

Hope this makes sense.

Enjoy the forum ( I still have no idea what some of the things you talk about are though)



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Yes, pretty much right there. There are some Rays though such as from Tycho where big lumps have been shot across the surface pretty much scraping a channel as it shoots across the Moon.

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There are some rare examples of long shallow craters where objects have struck the moon at a shallow angle.

I have just looked it up, oblique impact craters is the technical name. You may find this page of interest?



Edited by oldfruit
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That's a good question, I can see what you mean that there is a lack of trench like impacts. Again, a good find by Mark which indicates it's more the energy involved rather than the angle of impact.


I always thought that Vallis Alpes might be a large shallow impact, but it turns out to be a geological feature.



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Been thinking about this and here is my tuppence worth.

Probably completely wrong 


The chances of an object say 10m across hitting an object the size of the moon at such an oblique angle as to cause a 'trench' is so small it is minuet.

The craters are formed when the  impacting object slows down enough to transfer its energy into the Moon's surface causing an 'explosion' at this point the resulting crater will erase any evidence of impact angle.


Discuss :)

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The lack of atmosphere means that anything incoming doesn't shed it's velocity as it does with Earth, thus more energy is conserved and then delivered to the impact. This could actually be quite a good topic for discussion with some of our GCSE Astro and Physics students, might get them thinking.

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