The week of February 27-March 5 takes us from Day 1 through Day 7. Thursday through Sunday evenings are prime Moon-viewing times! This week we will highlight the crater Piccolomini, viewable on Friday evening.
Lunar Day 5 Piccolomini

Piccolomini: [SE/M13] The Altai Scarp (highlighted in the October 3rd blog) terminates on its southern end at Piccolomini, a 55-mi.-in-diameter crater. It is a beautiful and complex object with a substantial central mountain peak, terraces, and a smooth convex floor. Notice how there is a great deal more turmoil around the southern rim of Piccolomini. Can you see the tiny craterlet just touching the northwest base of the central mountain?

Piccolomini a 55 mi in diameter moon crater.


Mars and Uranus are in the constellation Pisces and on Monday evening they will both fit into the same low-power eyepiece, providing it has a field-of-view of at least 1°. Look for the two planets 11° to the upper left of bright Venus over the western horizon. Don’t expect much in the way of detail. Mars is only 4.6 arc-seconds at magnitude +1.3, and Uranus is 3.4 arc-seconds at magnitude +5.9. This technically makes Uranus a naked-eye object if you have good eyesight and very dark skies, but the tiny point of light was not discovered to be a planet until 1781 when Sir William Herschel stumbled upon it with his telescope. (He later coined the term “planetary nebula” because through a telescope such an object resembled Uranus. After observing Uranus with a higher power, go to the Eskimo Nebula in Gemini to check out the similarity between the two.)


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
Piccolomini: A Beautiful and Complex Object with a Substantial Central Mountain Peak
Tagged on:                 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.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