First quarter moon falls at 21:20 UTC on April 27, 2023
Lunar X and Lunar V
Have you heard of Lunar X and Lunar V? They are famous optical features on the moon, visible through telescopes. So when the moon’s terminator – or line between light and dark on the moon – is located in just the right place, you can see a letter X and a letter V on the moon’s surface. A sign of an alien visitation? No. Lunar X is a great example of how lighting and topography can combine on a planet or moon to produce a pattern that seems familiar to the human eye.
In reality, the illusion of Lunar X is created by sunlight falling on the rims/ridges between the craters La Caille, Blanchini, and Purbach. The V is caused by light illuminating crater Ukert, along with several smaller craters.
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and founded EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.
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