Just by looking at the Moon you can start to see the dark shades of the lunar mare – the large basaltic plains of the Moon. With a telescope, however, we are able to see far more detail.
In the northern half of the Moon (at the two o’clock position) you can see a large dark mare – the Sea of Tranquility. This was of course the landing zone for Apollo 11, the mission that saw mankind walk on the Moon for the first time.
Just below the centre of the Moon you can view a large crater called Ptolemaeus and arcing down below it two more craters Alphonsus and Arzachel. At the ten o’clock position, near the edge of the Moon is a very bright crater known as Aristarchus with a distinctive ray pattern arcing out from the centre. With a good enough magnification you may even be able to make out some of the valleys on the surface of the Moon, but the best way to explore it is using a telescope field map of the Moon, which can be located and downloaded from the internet.
Answered by Sophie Allan from the National Space Centre