• Don SpainEmail author
Part of the Astronomer's Pocket Field Guide book series (ASTROPOC)


Plato (61 miles) is a great flooded crater. Its walls are not particularly high, with just a few parts of the rim reaching up 1½ miles. The floor is dark and the lava that has flooded it has dissolved any traces of a central peak or hills. There are many craterlets and pits on the floor that are best seen 1 day after first quarter under a rising sun. In my 6 inch refractor I can pick out six of them under good seeing conditions. Look for long shadows on the floor as the sun rises over this magnificent formation. It is a must show at any public observation.

Piazza Smyth (13 miles) is a small, but very prominent crater. It is about 1½ miles deep with a featureless floor.

Montes Alps, the Alps Mountains surround Plato. This range of mountains is scattered on the island-like highlands that separate Mare Imbrium, the Sea of Rains from Mare Frigoris, the Sea of Cold. The higher peaks reach to about 1½ miles.

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Louisville Astronomical SocietyLouisvilleUSA

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