Home > Ephemeris Program, Observing, The Moon > 02/11/2014 – Ephemeris – The brightest spot on the moon is visible tonight

02/11/2014 – Ephemeris – The brightest spot on the moon is visible tonight

February 11, 2014

Ephemeris for Tuesday, February 11th.  The sun will rise at 7:48.  It’ll be up for 10 hours and 17 minutes, setting at 6:05.   The Moon, 3 days before full, will set at 6:06 tomorrow morning.

The moon tonight is very bright.  It will be full on Friday.  Using binoculars the brightest object on the moon is a spot at the left edge of the moon that rotates to the upper left as the moon rises.  It is the young crater Aristarchus.  The age is less than 1.1 billion years.  How much younger is unknown.  It’s in the same age range as Copernicus to the lower right of it with the big round splash marks.  In a telescope Aristarchus is a crater 24 miles (40 kilometers) in diameter.  Generally, the fresher the crater the brighter it is.  The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter has been in orbit of the moon for nearly four years.  In that time it has discovered small craters that were formed after it arrived in orbit.  The initial impacts drill into the moon’s lighter subsurface.

Times are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan.  They may be different for your location.


The Moon

The Moon at 9 p.m. February 11, 2014 showing the craters Aristarchus and Copernicus. Created using Virtual Moon Atlas.

Aristarchus closeup

The crater Aristarchus and its environs via the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter as a texture in the Virtual Moon Atlas. Credit NASA.

Note the valley that borders Aristarchus, Vallis Schroteri, or Schroter’s Valley.  It’s head is called the Cobra’s Head.  It is up to a kilometer or 3,000 feet deep.


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