About the SPA Lunar Section

No doubt you’ve looked at the Moon and have been amazed by the sheer wealth of detail visible. If you have a small telescope, within your grasp are many thousands of craters, ranging from grand old flooded craters like Ptolemaeus to more ‘recent’ asteroidal impact craters like Aristarchus, Tycho and Copernicus with their bright ray systems.

gibbous moon
Above: Waning gibbous Moon, photographed with a cheap hand-held digicam at the telescope eyepiece – point and click.

Just about every other class of lunar feature can be seen – mountains, hills, domes, rilles, clefts, faults and valleys. Lunar observation is by far the most visually rewarding branch of astronomy. Through binoculars and small telescopes the Moon’s surface resolves into a remarkable collection of seas, mountains and many hundreds of craters. Lunar observation is undoubtedly the most visually rewarding branch of astronomy.

There are two kinds of lunar observer: the visual observer who enjoys viewing the Moon through the eyepiece and making sketches of objects of interest, and the photovisual observer who delights in capturing images of the Moon. Both pursuits are welcomed by the SPA Lunar Section. Below, we look at drawing the Moon. If you’re interested in lunar imaging, take a look ‘Imaging’ in the Reference tab above.

Webcam image
Above: Webcam image of the Moon, webcast by Peter Grego, showing the crater Albategnius.