Lunar Crater Counting *
AbstractGet good photographs of the Moon showing lots of craters and count how many craters you find in a range of diameter classes. One useful source is the Consolidated Lunar Atlas (Kuiper et al, 2006). Make a histogram that shows the distribution of diameters. Most of these craters were formed during the first billion years of the Moon's formation, but you should confirm that this is true for the the Moon areas you've selected in your photographs by doing background research. Is cratering uniform across the surface of the Moon? Can you find evidence to support the assumption that the frequency of craters you count for each size range can be related to the cratering time scale for that size range? Perhaps this will be true only in certain areas of the Moon's surface. Perhaps you will find other clues to distinguish ancient craters from more recent ones. But if the assumptions above hold true, the interval between small cratering events is just the number of those craters you count over the whole Moon, divided by 1 billion years. With this information, you could estimate the ages for some of the larger craters you find in which smaller craters are seen inside them (Odenwald, 1997; Wood, C., 2006; Kuiper et al., 2006).
Cite This Page
Last edit date: 2017-07-28
- Kuiper, et al. Consolidated Lunar Atlas. available online from the Lunar and Planetary Institute [accessed July 31, 2006] http://www.lpi.usra.edu/resources/cla/.
- Odenwald, S., 1997. "Do you have any science fair suggestions for Middle School students?" Ask the Astronomer, Astronomy Cafe website [accessed July 31, 2006] http://www.astronomycafe.net/qadir/q2077.html.
- Wood, C., 2006. "Different Populations of Lunar Craters," Lunar Photo of the Day, February 21, 2006. [accessed July 31, 2006] http://www.lpod.org/?m=20060221.
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