Once, about four billion years ago, an asteroid about a kilometre and a half across fell on our Moon. The huge chunk of rock and iron smashed into our satellite’s central highlands on the nearside, its fall unwitnessed by the brooding, lifeless Earth, looming large in the ancient lunar sky. It excavated a crater about 33 km across in the already rugged terrain.
Time passed, and over the aeons the crater gradually changed.
The slow erosion of meteroids and occasional blankets of ejecta blasted from new craters around it gradually softened its outlines, while smaller arrivals from deep space poked new smaller craters in its floor.
Time passed, intelligent life arose on Earth and gave the crater a name, Dollond-C. Then in 1972 Apollo 16 landed about 100km to the crater’s southeast but that is as close as life as ever come to it. In 1978, the crater got a new name, becoming Lindsay Crater in honour of Eric M. Lindsay (1907-74).
Lindsay, a long-serving director of Armagh Observatory, was of course the man who inspired Armagh Planetarium, so this crater is a very special piece of the Solar System to us all here.
(Article by Colin Johnston, Science Education Director)