Moon Features

Here are some of the recognisable features of the Moon.

There are plenty of more detailed maps of the Moon on the internet such as at

pic NASA

You should be able to recognise the following types of feature

Craters - Caused by the impact of meteorites. The younger craters are often surrounded by lines of splash material.

Domes - Lava rose from below the surface and cooled as a dome.

Maria - Large smooth dark areas easily visible. (Maria means sea). Massive impacts left basins which filled with lava then cooled.

Mountains - rise up to 5km high on the lunar surface

Mascons - Mass concentrations. The gravity here is stronger due to a denser material. They are usually found under the surface of maria where molten rock has cooled, e.g. under the Mare Imbrium.

Rilles - trenches several kilometres wide and hundreds of metres deep. Faults on the lunar surface.

Wrinkle Ridges - up to 200m high and 30km long formed as the lunar crust cooled.

For photos of all of these and more explanation as to how they formed go to this address

And here are 3 excellent collections of images on NASA wbsites


The Shadow Terminator

Many of the Moons features are seen best along the shadow terminator. This is the thin region between where the Moon is in shadow and is illuminated. As the Sun's light falls on this region from a low angle (if you were on the Moon it would be sunrise or sunset here) then the shadows due to features on the Moon are at their longest. They are therefore at their most visible from Earth. By measuring the length of shadows one can calculate the size of some features, e.g. mountains.

pic NASA