Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera

Tycho Limb Shot!

Tycho Central Peak, Limb View
Magnificent oblique view of the eastern side of Tycho's central peak acquired when the Sun was relatively high above the horizon. From the viewpoint of LROC the Sun was behind and a bit to the north, so shadows are mostly hidden, thus subtle changes in surface brightness dominate the scene. Image width ~8 km, north is to the right, M1167178525LR [NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University].


Tycho crater is about 85 kilometers (53 miles) in diameter, and its central peak rises more than 2000 meters (6562 feet) above the crater floor. It is amazing to think that this giant crater formed within a few minutes! Imagine the view from Earth, a bright flash followed by several minutes of subsequent small impacts moving radially outwards as ejected material impacts much of the nearside. After the dust settles there is a glowing cauldron of impact melt 50 kilometers across. Then quite a show 3 to 4 days later as lunar material rains down on Earth, creating a spectacular meteor shower. Alas, no people were around 100 million years ago to enjoy the spectacle, but Cretaceous dinosaurs had a front row seat!

Tycho Limb Shot, Tiny
The LRO spacecraft rolled 73° to the west to acquire this spectacular oblique view of the floor, central peak and western wall of Tycho crater (43.3°S, 348.7°E) from an altitude of 59 km. From the crater floor to the top of the west wall is more than 4400 meters (14,400 feet)! In the background you can see over the limb, out into the black of deep space. Scene is ~40 km wide, M1167178525LR [NASA/ASU/Arizona State University].

Impact melt ejected during crater formation coated much of the exterior of the crater, the now hardened melt veneer is seen as darker shades of gray (foreground). Steep slopes shed material exposing fresh rock, which shows up as nearly white on the far wall and central peak.

Explore in full detail the interior of Tycho crater.

Related Featured Images

Tycho Central Peak Spectacular!

View From the Other Side

Shapes of Craters

Giant Flow of Impact Melt

River of Rock

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