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A New Atlas?
Lat: 46.7°N, Long: 44.4°E, Diam: 87 km, Depth: 2.05 km,
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Lunar Orbiter Images
ATLAS.--This, and its companion
on the W., form under oblique illumination a very beautiful pair, scarcely surpassed by any other similar objects on the first quadrant. Its lofty rampart, 55 miles in diameter, is surmounted by peaks, which on the N. tower to an altitude of nearly 11,000 feet. It exhibits an approach to a polygonal outline, the lineal character of the border being especially well marked on the N. The detail on the somewhat dark interior will repay careful scrutiny with high powers. There is a small but distinct central mountain, south of which stands a number of smaller hills, forming with the first a circular arrangement, suggestive of the idea that they represent the relics of a large central crater. Several clefts may be seen on the floor under suitable illumination, among them a forked cleft on the N.W. quarter, and two others, originating at a dusky pit of irregular form situated near the foot of the S.W. wall, one of which runs E. of the central hills, and the other on the opposite side. A ridge, at times resembling a light marking, extends from the central mountain to the N. border. During the years 1870 and 1871 I bestowed some attention on the dusky pit, and was led to suspect that both it and the surrounding area vary considerably in tone from time to time. Professor W.H. Pickering, observing the formation in 1891 with a 13 inch telescope under the favourable atmospheric conditions which prevail at Arequipa, Peru, confirmed this supposition, and has discovered some very interesting and suggestive facts relating to these variations, which, it is hoped, will soon be made public. On the plain a short distance beyond the foot of the
of the S.W. wall, I have frequently noted a second dusky spot, from which proceeds, towards the W., a long rill-like marking. On the N. there is a large formation enclosed by rectilineal ridges. The outer slopes of the rampart of Atlas are very noteworthy under a low sun.
Depth data from
Kurt Fisher database
Westfall, 2000: 2.05 km
Viscardy, 1985: 3 km
Cherrington, 1969: 3.04 km
Central peak height
: 0.9 km "The most distinct, cone-formed peak, standing on the westerly eccentric position"
"Low mound, which may be the true central peak": 0.6 km
"Tiny mound on the south of [the cone-formed peak]": 0.2 km
"Three mounds standing in a line": 0.2 km, 0.5 km, 0.2 km
Contains dark halo craters and thus pyroclastic deposits. * Two small pyroclastic deposit (areas = 100 & 250 km^2) on N and S sides of crater floor. Gaddis, L. (1999)
Lunar Pyroclastic Volcanism Project
Depth is from the less accurate LAC 27.
Central peak composition
: GNTA1 & AG (
Tompkins & Pieters, 1999
Satellite crater Atlas A is on the
ALPO list of banded craters
central peak height:
: 0.7 km
observed, near local sunset,
"a light brown shade extending from the crest of Atlas' wall halfway across the floor"
Celestial Objects for Common Telescopes
, Volume 1: The Solar System
TSI = 20, CPI = 25, FI = 25; MI =70
Smith and Sanchez, 1973
More than 98% anorthosite in central peak, and 0.2 to 0.6 Maturity Index (not mature)
Ohtake and others, 2009
During local sunset circumstances (evening terminator), the last stages of illumination show a wonderful "broken semi-circle effect" at the eastern part of
's rim (a noteworthy clair-obscur effect!). See LPOD
From Sea to Shining Sea
According to the
IAU Planetary Gazetteer
, named for
, one of the primordial Titans in
, where a Titan and a Titaness are assigned each of the seven planetary powers. Atlas is paired with Phoebe and governs the moon.
The name was given by
. As astronomical historian
has pointed out, Riccioli drew the name from a list in which the full name is given as
Atlas Rex Mauritaniae
, a mythical "King of Mauritana", who Riccioli thought lived around 1580 B.C. (Riccioli says he found reference to him in
(?), Chapter 8 and in
), a figure possibly distinct from the Greek Titan, but also closely entwined with those legends since Riccioli regarded him as the brother of Prometheus (circa 1590 B.C.) and the grandfather of
(circa 1510 B.C.). The same
Atlas Rex Mauritaniae
(distinct from the Titan) is
the inspiration for the word "Atlas" for a collection of maps, first used by
was dedicated to this personage.
Whatever its significance, the name has continued in use, unchanged. This feature is Catalog Entry 437 in the
Named Lunar Formations
Michel Florent Van Langren (Langrenus) called it (Riccioli's
, see page 195 of Ewen A. Whitaker's
Mapping and Naming the Moon
Wilkins and Moore
, but the
did not accept that name. O'Kell was an English amateur astronomer (1861-1947). Could have been a certain Samuel O'Kell (?).
The bright ray crater east of
is not officially named, however, it is unofficially nicknamed
, an irregular "crater" east-northeast of
itself (northwest of
) has a pronounced hill on the eastern part of its rim. According to SLC map B1, that hill received the Greek letter designation Epsilon (
System of Lunar Craters
Hiding a Mouse.
A Tale of Two Craters
A Wonderful Corner
(a wonderful look at the bright raycrater east of Atlas)
: Explosive volcanic pits on the floor of Atlas.
Hawke, BR, CR Coombs, LR Gaddis, PG Lucey & PD Owensby (1989)
Remote sensing and geologic studies of localized dark mantle deposits on the Moon
Proc. 19th Lunar Planet. Sci. Conf.
Gaddis, L.R. and others (2012)
Volcanism within Floor-fractured Atlas Crater
43rd LPSC #2728.
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