Amateur Astronomers Exploring The Moon’s Tycho Crater

A clear night sky offers an ever-changing array of captivating objects to see like constellations, stars, and bright planets, often the Moon, and sometimes special events like meteor showers. And whenever there’s a full moon, things get very interesting around here. And it’s obviously the same for our readers and Facebook fans, too.

If you want to learn more about how to view the Moon from a telescope or a pair of binocular, then head over to this interesting article: How To See The Moon: Best Telescope Viewing Tips.

Exploring the Moon’s Tycho crater

In May the full moon, known as the Full Flower Moon, Full Milk Moon, or Full Corn Planting Moon always shines near or in the stars of Libra. And Full moons are always located opposite to the sun. The Moon is rising in the east as the sun sets, or setting in the west at sunrise.

As the sunlight striking the full Moon and is arriving straight-on to its Earth-facing hemisphere, no shadows are produced. Furthermore, all of the illumination differences we see are caused by variations in albedo and variations in reflectivity of the lunar surface’s rocks.

So, when the Moon is full, all of the Apollo landing sites are completely illuminated, but no earth-based telescope can observe the tools left by human astronauts fifty years ago.

So when the Moon is full, the striking photos come flooding in from all over the world. The repeated monthly event lures both amateur and professional astronomers alike to stop and take notice.

Well, it’s hard to not be awestruck by the crater-pocked Moon in the night sky, mainly when it’s Full Moon. The Moon is unlike Earth in every way, and telescopes and other means that give us a closer look at its rough, still surface further stimulate our enchantment and fuel our imagination.


Image showing Tycho and Copernicus: Lunar Ray Craters
Credit: Steve Mandel, Hidden Valley Observatory.
Image showing Tycho and Copernicus: Lunar Ray Craters
Credit: Steve Mandel, Hidden Valley Observatory.

The Tycho crater sits at the southern polar region of the Moon 

We know that the lunar’s surface is peppered with craters. Still, one, in particular, gets a lot of attention in photos. And that is the famous Tycho crater.

Tycho crater is named after the 16th-century Danish astronomer, Tycho Brahe (1546–1601). He was revered for his accurate planetary observations even before the discovery of the telescope. 

And the Moon crater Tycho is located at the southern polar region of the Moon and looks like a round naval with streaks radiating from it. Causing some people to say the Moon looks more like a melon than an astronomical body.

Astronomers think that the Tycho crater is relatively young

The Astronomers have estimated that the Tycho crater is relatively young. And it was created by the impact of a notable planetary object that was presumably about six miles wide, which struck the Moon around 108 million years ago. 

Furthermore, it is very likely the dinosaurs and other creatures inhabiting Earth at the time were eyewitness to this event and experienced a pelting of debris plummeting to Earth some days following the meteor impact.

The famous Tycho crater is around 51 miles (82 km) across and almost 15,000 feet (4,572 meters) deep. That’s nearly three miles (4.82 km) deep, and three times the depth of the Grand Canyon.


This photo shows the Moon much as it will appear in a small telescope. The Moon crater Tycho is at the bottom with another prominent crater, Copernicus, at top. The tiny white dot inside the Tycho crater is the central mountain peak illuminated by the rising sun. Credit: Frank Barrett.
This photo shows the Moon much as it will appear in a small telescope. The Moon crater Tycho is at the bottom with another prominent crater, Copernicus, at top. The tiny white dot inside the Tycho crater is the central mountain peak illuminated by the rising sun. Credit: Frank Barrett.

How big is the central peak of theTycho crater?

And, when observing images of the enormous Tycho crater, it seems to be just a big round crater. Just like so many other craters on the Moon.

But upon closer examination, there is a noticeable dot punctuating the middle of the crater. 

What this dot is may amaze you. Nestled inside the Tycho crater is a mountain peak, which, according to scientists at NASA, is about 9.3 miles or 15 km wide and 1.24 miles or 2 km at its highest point. 

Barely a dot at all. And powerful telescopes have captured multiple photographs of this high peak. And they have been capable of zooming in further to discover that sitting atop the peak is a huge boulder roughly 400 feet or 122 meters wide. That turns into something the size of 1.3 football fields.

So, the next time you aim your telescope to the Moon, rather than search for the “Man in the Moon,” take a closer look at the fantastic and mystified Tycho crater.

That’s it, and I hope you enjoyed this short article. If you want to learn more about this fascinating crater, then go here and find out everything you need to know about Tycho crater. You will be amazed.

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