At a distance of almost a quarter of a million miles, the Moon is our nearest neighbor in space. A small telescope or even a pair of binoculars is sufficient to begin your personal exploration of this interesting world. People have been exploring the moon by telescope for 400 years, so there is a lot of detail that you have to learn in order to understand lunar geography. One excellent tool is the [Virtual Moon Atlas], a fine piece of freeware to help you understand lunar surface features, their origin, and how the monthly cycle of lunar phases impacts your ability to image specific features on the surface.
Lunar surface images are large compared to those of individual planets, so I can only display a few at a time. I will periodically change the images shown on this page so that over time you can get a feeling for the diversity of features on the surface of our nearest neighbor.
Added October 2017
Copernicus is a young crater (<1 billion years), 93 km (56 mi.) in diameter, with intricate terracing of the interior walls and a circular raised rim rising 3760 m above the surrounding Mare. Although basalts make up the floor of the crater (they are particularly smooth in the NW quadrant), the tips of the three mountains that made up the central massif are still visible rising 1200 m above the crater floor. Ejecta from the impact was dispersed in all directions, creating a distinct patterns of white rays. The rays from older craters tend to become muted as their ejecta material darkens as a result of “space weathering”.
Added August 2017
Clavius is a large crater (225 km in diameter) in the central Southern Highlands. The impact that created the crater cracked the crust at the impact site and the crater floor represents solidified lava. A multitude of later impacts, large and small, created a fascinating collection of impact features set in the chaotic terrain of the Southern Highlands.
Added August 2017
The relatively flat lava plain of Eastern Mare Imbrium are marked by several interesting features including these four significant craters: (N to S) Cassini, Aristillus, Autolycus, and Archimedes. Note that Archimedes, like Clavius, was created by an impact that generated lavas the flooded the crater floor. The floor of Aristillus also is flooded by lava, but the basalts are not thick enough to bury the seven distinctive central peaks.