LCROSS Crater Cabeus with Adaptive Optics

The images below of the lunar crater Cabeus were taken on October 9, 2009 with the Palomar Observatory's 200-inch (5.1-meter) Hale Telescope and its adaptive optics system. Cabeus crater is located in the center, behind the large bright mountain.   Cabeus was the target of the NASA LCROSS mission. The crater was chosen because it was thought to contain a substantial amount of water ice. It was hoped by the LCROSS mission team that the impact would send an ejecta plume above the lunar surface, which could be observed from ground-based telescopes, but no plume was observed.

The Adaptive Optics system removes the blurring effects of Earth's atmosphere to produce very high resolution images.


10 Seconds After Impact. Click for full resolution.


15 Seconds After Impact. Click for full resolution.

In each of the images the field of view is 71 km (40 arcseconds, with ~200m resolution), recorded at 2.1 microns wavelength. Images were produced by Antonin Bouchez.

MPEG Movie of Cabeus Crater from Palomar (18.8 mb). The movie compresses 12 minutes (4 prior to LCROSS impact, 8 minutes after) into 34 seconds.

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