Observing the Moon – north-east quadrant

The Moon makes a fine target for amateur astronomers, even with small telescopes. The north east and south east quadrants are those which first come into view after New Moon until they begin to go back into shadow after Full Moon.

Moon northeast

Mare Crisium, the waterless Sea of Crises, is one of the first great lava plains to come into view, followed by the forked plains that include Mare Tranquillitatis, the Sea of Tranquility, where Man first walked on the Moon in the Apollo 11 mission. They are visible to the unaided eye but binoculars will show them clearly.

Interesting features to look for with telescopes include the brilliant Proclus near Mare Crisium’s western edge. Look in Mare Serenitatis, the Sea of Serenity, for two spots marking smaller craters, Bessel and Linne. A larger feature known as the “ghost crater” because it has been flooded with lava is Lamont in Mare Tranquillitatis.

As the lunar phase approaches First Quarter, conditions become ideal for telescope users to spot the spectacular Alpine Valley, a gash that cuts through 130km high mountains. The dramatic Apennine mountain range also begin to come into view at this time.

Update! For an alternative, inverted view, here is a chart with south at the top.

Moon northeast inverted view

You can download a check sheet for the entire list of 50 features here! (PDF file).

Our list of 50 features

1. Albategnius
2. Alphonsus
3. Alpine Valley
4. Altai scarp
5. Apennines
6. Archimedes
7. Aristarchus
8. Aristillus
9. Aristoteles
10. Arzachel
11. Autolycus
12. Bessel
13. Birt
14. Bullialdus
15. Catharina
16. Clavius
17. Copernicus
18. Cyrillus
19. Endymion
20. Eudoxus
21. Fracastorius
22. Gassendi
23. Grimaldi
24. Herodotus
25. Hevelius
26. Hipparchus
27. Kepler
28. Lamont
29. Langrenus
30. Linné
31. Menelaus
32. Petavius
33. Piccolomini
34. Plato
35. Posidonius
36. Proclus
37. Ptolemaeus
38. Purbach
39. Regiomontanus
40. Riccioli
41. Rümker
42. Schickard
43. Schiller
44. Stöfler
45. Straight Wall
46. Theophilus
47. Tycho
48. Vendelinus
49. Walter
50. Wargentin


Fifty fantastic features

Moon in relief

Our amazing Moon.

Here’s our guide to observing some of the finest sights on the Moon with small telescopes.

South-east quadrant


What to see in the south-east.

Here’s where to find some of the fantastic features visible on the south-east quadrant of the Moon.

North-west quadrant


What to see in the north-west.

Here’s where to find some of the fantastic features visible on the north-west quadrant of the Moon.

South-west quadrant


What to see in the south-west.

Here’s where to find some of the fantastic features visible on the south-west quadrant of the Moon.

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