Useful Resources

Creating a Moone Catalogue

Harriot's Moone Catalogue

"Harriot's Moone Catalogue" by Geoff Burt

Hampshire Astronomical Group

‘Harriot’s Moone Catalogue’ HMC commemorates the 400th anniversary of the worlds first telescopic astronomical observation, made by Thomas Harriot at Syon House, London and dated July 26th 1609. On that day, Harriot made a phase drawing of the moon when the lunation was 5 days old, showing Crisium, Fecunditatis, Nectaris, part of Tranquillitatis, part of Serenitartis and the crater Theophilus at the terminator.

This 2009 catalogue has a dual purpose; first to encourage lunar observations during the International Year of Astronomy 2009 and ‘Moon Watch’ weeks by providing a handy reference guide and second, to act as a legacy perpetuating Harriot’s pioneering observations. The HMC consists of 38 prominent features, devised from Harriot’s lunar phase drawings made during 1609 ~ 1610 and Moon map of c. 1611. Hopefully, during IYA 2009 and in the future, as many as possible of the numbered features will be included during observations of our moon.

The commemorative drawing was made using ink and pencil on textured paper to a similar size and format to Harriot's originals and based on my lunar observations made during 2008. The observations were made using a modern 8" (200mm) aperture Newtonian reflector telescope at 40 times magnification, whereas Harriot used a variety of refractor telescopes of his design, providing from 6 to about 30 times magnification.

There are two versions of the HMC*, one showing the Moon in normal view with the north at the top as drawn by Harriot, and the other in telescope view with the north at the bottom. Numbers in brackets show the waxing phase day (from New Moon to Full Moon) during a lunation when each feature is best observed, being near the terminator just after lunar dawn. Phase day 7 equates to First Quarter.

Geoff Burt
Hampshire Astronomical Group

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