The Lunar 100 Plus Gallery

Shoestring Astronomy by Doug Anderson

     In the April 2004 issue of Sky & Telescope magazine, author Charles A. Wood sets out of list of 100 objects on the moon in his article The Lunar 100. Most of these objects were selected to illustrate the geological history of the moon. Some of the objects are significant from the standpoint of man's exploration of the moon. Most of these features require some planning to observe in terms of timing the observation to take advantage of favorable illumination near the terminator (the line where light and dark meet on the face of the moon). Some features near the edge also require timing with respect to the libration of the moon. A few of the objects are so small that they challenge our ability to see detail from the surface of the Earth due to our distance and our atmosphere. The list is arranged in order of easiest to most difficult to observe.

     While searching for the objects of the Lunar 100, I have 'discovered' other interesting objects. I decided to keep my own list of the Lunar 100 Plus objects. They are listed at the bottom of the table, in roughly the order I have stumbled across them. Not being as well versed in the geology and history of the moon as Mr. Wood, most of my list items were just things that caught my eye.

     Many astronomers regard the moon as simply the largest source of light pollution. I was certainly one of those. I'm sure Mr. Wood's article has changed that viewpoint for many amateurs. I now look forward to those clear nights when the moon is out. Since photography of the moon using a digital camera or webcam is relatively simple, I decided to challenge myself to try and capture all 100 objects in photographs. I may never get all 100, but I keep in mind that the journey is usually more interesting than the destination.

     I have summarized the list below. Click on feature names that have active links to see the pictures I have taken of that object.

     One amazing tool I use to help in planning is the Virtual Moon Atlas software written by Patrick Chevalley and Christian Legrand. They use the proper Latin naming convention for lunar features, so I have included VMA database names in the table as well. If you decide to download their excellent software, you can locate these objects yourself. I also used their software to pick the lunation dates when each feature should be near the terminator. Another nice feature about their software is that it links you to lunar orbiter photos of the region around most of the objects in their database, providing additional aid in locating these objects.

The Lunar 100

L # Feature name Significance VMA Name
1 Moon Large satellite  
2 Earthshine Twice reflected Sunlight  
3 Mare/highland dichotomy Two materials with distinct compositions  
4 Apennines Imbrium basin rim MONTES APENNINUS
5 Copernicus Archetypal large complex crater COPERNICUS
6 Tycho Large rayed crater with impact melts TYCHO
7 Altai Scarp Nectaris basin rim RUPES ALTAI
8 Theophilus, Cyrillus, Catharina Crater sequence illustrating stages of degradation THEOPHILUS, CYRILLUS, CATHARINA
9 Clavius Lacks basin featrues in spite of its size CLAVIUS
10 Mare Crisium Mare contained in large circular basin MARE CRISIUM
11 Aristarchus Very bright crater with dark bands on its walls ARISTARCHUS
12 Proclus Oblique-impact rays PROCLUS
13 Gassendi Floor-fractured Crater GASSENDI
14 Sinus Iridum Very large crater with missing rim SINUS IRIDUM
15 Straight Wall Best example of a lunar fault RUPES RECTA
16 Petavius Crater with domed and fractured floor PETAVIUS
17 Schröter's Valley Giant sinuous rille VALLIS SCHROTER
18 Mare Serenitatis dark edges Distinct mare areas with different compositions MARE SERENITATIS
19 Alpine Valley Lunar graben VALLIS ALPES
20 Posidonius Floor-fractured crater POSIDONIUS
21 Fracastorius Crater with subsided and fractured floor FRACASTORIUS
22 Aristarchus Plateau Mysterious uplifted region mantled with pyroclastics ARISTARCHUS
23 Pico Isolated Imbrium basin-ring fragment MONS PICO
24 Hyginus Rille Rille containing rimless collapse pits RIMA HYGINUS
25 Messier and Messier A Oblique ricochet-impact pair MESSIER
26 Mare Frigoris Arcuate mare of uncertain origin MARE FRIGORIS
27 Archimedes Large crater lacking central peak ARCHIMEDES
28 Hipparchus Subject of first drawing of a single crater HIPPARCHUS
29 Aridaeus Rille Long, linear graben RIMA ARIADAEUS
30 Schiller Possible oblique impact SCHILLER
31 Taruntius Young floor-fractured crater TARUNTIUS
32 Arago Alpha and Beta Volcanic domes ARAGO ALPHA, ARAGO BETA
33 Serpentine Ridge Basin inner-ring segment DORSA SMIRNOV (?)
34 Lacus Mortis Strange crater with rille and ridge LACUS MORTIS
35 Triesnecker Rilles Rille Family RIMAE TRIESNECKER
36 Grimaldi basin A small two-ring basin GRIMALDI
37 Bailly Barely discernible basin BAILLY
38 Sabine and Ritter Possible twin impacts SABINE, RITTER
39 Schickard Crater floor with Orientale basin ejecta stripe SCHICKARD
40 Janssen Rille Rare examle of a highland rille RIMAE JANSSEN
41 Bessel ray Ray of uncertain origin near Bessel BESSEL
42 Marius Hills Complex of volcanic domes and hills MARIUS
43 Wargentin A crater filled to the rim with lava or ejecta WARGENTIN
44 Mersenius Domed floor cut by secondary craters MERSENIUS
45 Maurolycus Region of saturation cratering MAUROLYCUS
46 Regiomontanus central peak Possible volcanic peak REGIOMONTANUS
47 Alphonsus dark spots Dark-halo eruptions on crater floor ALPHONSUS
48 Cauchy region fault, rilles and domes CAUCHY, RIMA CAUCHY, RUPES CAUCHY
49 Gruithuisen Delta and Gamma Volcanic domes formed with viscous lavas MONS GRUITHUISEN DELTA, MONS GRUITHUISEN GAMMA
50 Cayley Plains ; Light, smooth plains of uncertain origin CAYLEY
51 Davy crater chain Result of comet-fragment impacts CATENA DAVY
52 Crüger Possible volcanic caldera CRUGER
53 Lamont Possible buried basin LAMONT
54 Hippalus Rilles Rilles concentric to Humorum basin RIMAE HIPPALUS
55 Baco Unusually crater floor and surrounding BACO
56 Mare Australe A partially flooded ancient basin MARE AUSTRALE
57 Reiner Gamma Conspicuous swirl and magnetic anomaly REINER GAMMA
58 Rheita Valley Basin secondary-crater chain VALLIS RHEITA
59 Schiller-Zucchius basin Badly degraded overlooked basin between SCHILLER, ZUCCHIUS
60 Kies Pi Volcanic dome DOME KIES PI
61 Mösting A Simple crater close to center of lunar near side MOSTING
62 Rümker Hills Large volcanic dome MONS RUMKER
63 Imbrium sculpture Basin ejecta near and overlying Bscovich and Julius Caesar BOSCOVICH, JULIUS CAESAR
64 Descartes Apollo 16 landing site; putative region of highland volcanism DESCARTES
65 Hortensius domes Dome field north of Hortensius HORTENSIUS OMEGA
66 Hadley Rille Lava channel near Apollo 15 landing site RIMA HADLEY
67 Fra Mauro formation Apollo 14 landing site on Imbrium ejecta FRA MAURO
68 Flamsteed P Proposed young volcanic crater, Surveyor 1 landing site FLAMSTEED is within
69 Copernicus secondary craters Rays and craterlets near PYTHEAS
70 Humbodtianum basin Multi-ring impact basin MARE HUMBOLDTIANUM
71 Sulpicius Gallus dark mantle Ash eruptions northwest of crater SULPICIUS GALLUS
72 Atlas dark-halo craters Explosive volcanic pits on the floor of Atlas ATLAS
73 Smythii basin Difficult-to-observe basin scarp and mare MARE SMYTHII
74 Copernicus H Dark-halo impact crater near COPERNICUS
75 Ptolemaeus B Saucerlike depression on the floor of Ptolemaeus near AMMONIUS
76 W. Bond Large crater degraded by Imbrium ejecta W BOND
77 Sirsalis Rille Procellarum basin radial rilles RIMAE SIRSALIS
78 Lambert R A buried "ghost" crater near LAMBERT
79 Sinus Aestuum Eastern dark-mantle volcanic deposit SINUS AESTUUM
80 Orientale basin Youngest large impact basin MARE ORIENTALE
81 Hesiodus A Concentric crater near HESIODUS
82 Linné Small crater once thought to have disappeared LINNE
83 Plato craterlets Crater pits at limits fo detection PLATO
84 Pitatus Crater with concentric rilles PITATUS
85 Langrenus rays Aged ray system LANGRENUS
86 Prinz Rilles Rille system near the crter Prinz RIMAE PRINZ
87 Humboldt Crater with central peaks and dark spots HUMBOLDT
88 Peary Difficult-to-observe polar crater PEARY
89 Valentine Dome Volcanic Dome near LINNE
90 Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins Small craters near the Apollo 11 landing site ARMSTRONG, ALDRIN, COLLINS
91 De Gasparis Rilles Area with many rilles RIMAE DE GASPARIS
92 Gylden Valley Part of the Imbrium radial sculpture near GYLDEN
93 Dionysius rays Unusual and rare dark rays DIONYSIUS
94 Drygalski Large south-pole region crater DRYGALSKI
95 Procellarum basin The Moon´s biggest basin? OCEANUS PROCELLARUM is part of
96 Leibnitz Mountains Rim of South Pole-Aitken basin near MALAPERT
97 Inghirami Valley Orientale basin ejecta VALLIS INGHIRAMI
98 Imbrium lava flows Mare lava-flow boundaries near CARLINI


Ina caldera D-schaped young volcanic caldera near LACUS FELICITATIS


Mare Marginis swirls Possible magnetic field-deposits near AL BIRUNI

My Lunar 100 Plus

L # Feature name Significance VMA Name
101 Mons Piton A large, lonely mountain MONS PITON