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Like Yoda This Moon Shadow Looks. Yes, hmmm?

An oblique view from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter of Icarus Crater on the Moon. The shadow created by the unusual central peak in the crater is reminiscent of a certain Star Wars character.  Icarus is approximately 94 km in diameter. Credit: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University.

An oblique view from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter of Icarus Crater on the Moon. The shadow created by the unusual central peak in the crater is reminiscent of a certain Star Wars character. Icarus is approximately 94 km in diameter. Credit: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University.

Scientists from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter say that Icarus Crater is one of a kind on the Moon because its central peak rises higher than about half its rim. Most central peaks rise only about halfway to the crater rim. But at just the ring angle and lighting conditions, the shadow this central peak creates on the rolling and jagged crater rim looks like the Star Wars Character Yoda. Interestingly, this crater is located on what some people erroneously call the “Dark Side” of the Moon – what is actually the lunar farside.

Yoda meditates about moons. Via Blastr.com

Yoda meditates about moons. Via Blastr.com

Below you can see a closeup of the central peak of Icarus crater rising out of the shadows to greet a new lunar day.

The central peak of Icarus Crater on the Moon’s farside, as seen by LROC. Image width is approximately 10 km, north is to the right. Credit: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University.

The central peak of Icarus Crater on the Moon’s farside, as seen by LROC. Image width is approximately 10 km, north is to the right. Credit: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University.

Icarus is located just west of Korolev crater on the lunar farside. The light-colored plains surrounding the craters were deposited during the formation of the Orientale basin, which is located over 1500 km away.

Image from LRO’s Wide Angle Camera of Icarus crater and vicinity. Image width is approximately 365 km. Credit: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University.

Image from LRO’s Wide Angle Camera of Icarus crater and vicinity. Image width is approximately 365 km. Credit: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University.

Find out more about these images from LRO and see larger versions at the LROC website.

About 

Nancy Atkinson is Universe Today's Senior Editor. She also works with Astronomy Cast, and is a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Aqua4U February 23, 2014, 12:22 AM

    Yo duh one! ~@; )

    Grins and reminds me to continue marking and otherwise obeserving craters..

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