During the last two weeks we have had typical middle latitude summer weather with balmy nights that are clear but hazy. The wind stays light and temperatures stay above 60 F. So when the moon is waxing (getting bigger) or waning (getting smaller), it provides excellent opportunity under comfortable conditions to see lunar craters with good contrast near the terminator (the boundary of the moon in shadow and the moon in light). One of those nights I observed Aristoteles and Eudoxus along with a couple smaller craters, which you can see in the image below.
A few families came recently to watch the moon, too. Their questions were predictable. Where did the craters come from? That leads to a discussion, because the origin of the moon was at God’s express hand along with the sun, making a unique moon in the solar system due to its size and distance from earth that affect so much on earth. But the craters are an obvious marring of the surface that took place that appears to have occurred some time later. Those collisions occurred in a shorter period of time in view of the density and layout of the craters compared with benign conditions that exist today. Some craters are full of material that was molten, probably from heat generated with the large impacts, and thus appear somewhat buried. Others, which would have occurred later, have prominent high/low features. Scarps from period can be observed. There are also grazing impacts. The back side is very cratered, too, but has fewer “mare” or “seas.” The period event was violent and left us with the tell-tale lunar surface we see today under dramatically more benign conditions. So what happened?
So I ask adults and children to think of what catastrophic events occurred that are huge and affected the earth and potentially the solar system or beyond? There are only two events that have biblical foundation for dramatic changes and effects. One is the Genesis Flood and the other, which is less studied, is the result of the curse at the Fall of Man. Most creation scientists and specialists associate the heavy cratering with the Genesis Flood event. It is conjectured that God may have used impacts from an asteroid swarm to precipitate the event on earth, which would have impacted the moon also. On the www.creation.com site, using the search words “origin, cratering, moon” will result in many articles and discussion on the theory of moon cratering.
Crater characteristics are a fascinating study themselves. Impacts result in different features as the size of the projectile, angle of impact, and when the impact occurred (compared to previous impacts. It make observing under changing light conditions fascinating, and why moon observing is interesting to so many observers. Suffice it to say here that the moon has God’s signature, both in its perfectly designed origin and its probably subsequent marring from heavy impacts…also attributed to His hand.
Author note about sketch lessons: the crater observation was done during a sketch lesson being given online using video streaming to www.nightskiesnetwork.com, where people can select my station (rolandskyone) and follow the procedures to record an observation. We had about 15 people from around the world and a few others check in and out. While it makes for a busy time to both record an observation and teach the process, it makes a wonderful opportunity for folks to learn as well as be exposed to a biblical view of the moon’s origin, rather than an evolutionary view, which deliberately excludes any notion of God in the universe. Notice also that the observing sheet has most of the elements that we teach teachers to have students record, to include the instrument, date, time, orientation, a title, a comment, etc. If you wish to get notifications when we do this, use the “Contact Us” page to tell me to send you notification or find me on Face book, where I also announce events. Roland Beard