The Lunascan Project
Inconsistant Moon - Alphonsus

Using the 60-inch Mount Wilson reflector, Dinsmore Alter made photographs of the lunar crater Alphonsus in 1956 and found that certain features looked more fuzzy on the blue-violet plates than on the infrared. At the time, this photographic evidence of some kind of obscuration or "degassing" on the moon warmed up the then lukewarm interest in the issue of lunar activity.

The fuzzy floor of Alphonsus



After Alter had announced apparent obscurations of portions of its floor, Kozyrev became interested and began to make routine spectrograms of the crater Alphonsus. In November 1958 and October 1959, he obtained spectra which he interpreted as indicating the outflow of gases, a lava stream, and a cloud of volcanic dust from Alphonsus' central peak.

After the first event in 1959, a tiny red patch on the south side of the central peak of Alphonsus was seen by a number of observers. Among those reporting this new spot of color were G. A. Hole, H. P. Wilkins, and B. Warner in England and several observers in Hungary and the United States. Wilkins saw the patch as roughly circular, with a black spot in the middle and red-colored material mounted around it. However, others who searched for this patch, even with large instruments, could not see it at all. As described, it sounds remarkably like some of the color phenomena in the vicinity of Aristarchus.

Any color phenomena occurring on the moon would be amplified in and appear to pop in and out of the tele scopicimage in the "color-blink" instrument, just as in the blink microscope the photographic image appears and disappears, seeming to "blink." The most complex model will use a color television system to compare two or more telescopic images of the moon automatically, identifying those on which even minute color phenomena have occurred.

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