3. Apennine Mountains
4. Mare Crisium
5. Ptolemaeus, Alphonsus, Arzachel
The different phases of the Moon offer different visual treats and delights. The crescent phase, whether it’s a very young ‘new’ Moon hanging in the western sky after sunset, or an old waning Moon glowing above the eastern horizon before sunrise, is a beautiful sight. It can look particularly striking if it happens to be shining close to a bright planet. If the bright, sunlit crescent is quite thin you can often see the rest of the Earthfacing side of the Moon glowing with the subtle lavender light of Earthshine, too.
Despite what many observers will tell you, the full Moon is not the worst lunar phase to observe. True, with the Sun beating down mercilessly from high above there is no surface relief to see, no shadows are cast behind the Moon’s jagged mountains or into the bowls of its deep craters, but the full Moon is when it is easiest to see the contrast between the dark lunar seas and its rugged highlands, and to identify its major features too. Full Moon is also the best time to see the bright ...