The Face of the Moon

Enlarged image

The plate labelled "Aristarchus-Kepler-Grimaldi" presents a grand view of the Ocean of Storms. Schröter's Valley stands out near Aristarchus at the bottom of the detail shown, as does the ray system from Olbers at the right. Particularly striking is the white smear above center. This feature is unique on the near-side of the moon and is possibly the result of an impacting comet. Now known as Reiner Gamma, it is also of historical interest, because Riccioli gave it the name Galilaeus on his 1651 map. When Galilaeus turned out to be a white spot, and not a crater, the name (now Galilaei) had to be reassigned to the insignificant pair of craters just below and to the right. Riccioli won the final round against his Copernican adversary.

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