Moon Phase

This is the first quarter moon, or also known as waxing gibbuous, and it is actually the third phase of each moon cycle. There are eight moon phases which progress in the same manner each month.

The isolated dark spot towards the top right is called Mare Crisium, ‘Sea of Crises’. Directly below that where there is another dark spot is Mare Fecunditatis ‘Sea of Fecundity’ or ‘Sea of Fertility’. The larger darker areas which are partly merged are called, rather beautifully, Mare Tranquillitatis ‘Sea  of Tranquility’, and Mare Serenitatis ‘Sea of Serenity’ above. Further down is another sea, Mare Nectaris ‘Sea of Nectar’.

There are other seas on the moon, collectively called lunar maria, which were named so for early astronomers believed they were actually large bodies of water, seas or oceans. They are actually large and dark basaltic plains formed by ancient volcanic eruptions.

We can also just about see a close trio of craters just below halfway, near the Sea of Nectar. These are called, starting with the top most, Theophilus, which is a very prominent impact crater, Cyrillus and Catharina. The Apollo 16 mission collected several pieces of basalt that are believed to be ejecta from the formation of Theophilus some billions of years ago. You can also just make out a  mountain which lies in the centre of Theophilus.

The two distinct craters at the top are called, starting with top most again, Aristoteles, named after the Greek philospher Aristotle. The crater directly to the south of Aristoteles is called Eudoxus.

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