Around Imbrium - Gibbous Moon Watching Part 1 | Learn Astronomy HQ

Around Imbrium - Gibbous Moon Watching Part 1

How long do you spend observing the moon? A lot of us take a cursory look at the moon, glance over its many craters, mountains and seas and then move on to the planets or deep space objects. Many of us miss the delights the moon has to offer and never really get to "know" the moon. Over the next few posts we will cover some of the features of the waxing gibbous moon. Finding the named surface features is very rewarding and can start a long and enjoyable relationship with our nearest celestial body, the moon.

I find many moon maps difficult to follow, the sketches are difficult to interpret and the pictures are often orientated in many different ways. Over the coming posts I will orientate the moon and the close-up images as they would be seen with the naked eye or binoculars. This should make orientation easier. The close-up images will be taken at the same time as the complete moon image so the terminator remains in the same place for ease of reference. I hope this will make the journey to discovering the moon far more easy. Enjoy!

The Waxing Gibbous Moon

gibbous moon

Click on image to enlarge.

Start by identifying number 1 on the moon. This is the Mare Imbrium (Sea of Rains).

Now zoom in on this area of the moon with your binoculars or telescope.

Around the Mare Imbrium Tour

Mare Imbrium

Click on image to enlarge.

Start at S (for start).

1. Bay of Rainbows (Sinus Iridium) 

The basalt that flooded the floor of the Imbrium covered half the wall of this old crater resulting in the appearance of a lovely bay.

2. Plato crater 

A relatively recent crater with an almost perfectly untouched crater floor.

3. Sea of Cold (Mare Frigoris)

4. Pythagoras crater  

A large crater with two central peaks, although spotting them both is a real challenge as one almost covers the other. This crater is 130km wide.

5. Babbage walled plain

This is a walled plain that contains a crater. Its great to see the long 144km wall appearance. 

6. Teneriffe Mountains

A mountain range that rises to 2,400 metres (7,874 feet). Don't miss the solitary mountain, Pico that lays just to the right of the number 6 in the image above and can be seen as the white area a quarter of the distance along a line drawn from 6 to 12.

7. The Straight Range

Otherwise known as the Montes Recti, this 90km long mountain range rises to 1,800 metres. It is easily recognisable by its distinct straight line which is only 20km wide.

8. Archimedes Crater

Like the Plato crater this one has a floor that has been flooded with lava giving a smooth appearance. The feature to look for is the debris from the rays of the nearby autolycus crater that produces lines across the floor of this crater.

9. Spitzbergen Mountains

Named after the ragged mountains of Spitsbergen Island this 60km chain of mountains contains valleys of lava and peaks upto 1,500 metres.

10. Apennine Mountains

This is a vast mountain range. It contains many named peaks. Mons Hadley and Mons Hadley delta formed the valley where Apollo 15 landed. This impressive mountain range rises upto 5,000 metres.

11. The Putrid Swamps

The Palus Putredinis is an area of dark lava flow, it appears distinct from the surrounding mare and looks unusual. This was the landing site for Apollo 15. It landed on an area called the Hadley rille. The site can be seen in the NASA image below.

Apollo 15 landing site

12. Alpine Valley

This is a great feature to see. It is only just visible on the image above. It forms an almost straight line. It is a 10 km wide lava filled valley that joins the Sea of Rains to the Sea of Cold.

Around Copernicus - Gibbous Moon Watching Part 2

Around The Sea of Moisture - Gibbous Moon Watching Part 3

Related Posts: Observing

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