The week of March 28 – April 3rd takes us from Day 26 to Day 3. This week we will highlight the moon crater Humboldt.

humboldt - Full Moon: Impressive Capes, Crater ChainsHumboldt1: [SE/M18] This moon crater is best viewed when there is a pronounced libration; tonight it is caught just inside the leading edge of the Moon. Because of foreshortening, it appears to be extremely elongated north to south. It has a cluster of central peaks, and if you’re lucky, you might spot a long catena (crater chain) extending from the northeast rim of the crater.


One of the loveliest views of the Moon can be seen around Day 3 and to appreciate it, you don’t even need a telescope. Go out in the evening of the third day, just as deep twilight is ending, and look west. The Moon will seem magically suspended over the horizon, and its dark side will be softly glowing from earthshine. At such times the daylight portion of the Earth shines a beacon of reflected sunlight toward the Moon, whose dark side acquires a lovely ethereal glow, and if you can possibly add the aroma of nearby apple blossoms, then you will have created a scene of transcendental beauty.

1 William von Humboldt (22 June 1767 – 8 April 1835) was a Prussian philosopher, linguist, government functionary, diplomat, and founder of the Humboldt University of Berlin.


It is highly recommended that you get a copy of Sky and Telescope’s Field Map of the Moon, the very finest Moon map available for use at the telescope. It is available for $10.95 at and on Amazon. All features mentioned in this blog will be keyed to the grid on the Field Map and will look like this: Plato: [NW/D9]

Courtesy of Gray Photography of Corpus Christi, Texas
Lunar photos: NASA / USGS / BMDO / LROC / ASU / DLR / LOLA / Moon Globe. Used by permission

Andrew Planck
Moon Crater Humboldt: Cluster of Central Peaks and Crater Chain

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *