Hipparchus and Albategnius are a photogenic pair of ancient impact craters lying in the lunar central highlands just to the east of Mare Nubium. Hipparchus is much degraded and modified, due to multiple impacts that have occurred since its formation in the same impact that formed Mare Imbrium some three to four billion years ago. Hipparchus is 160 kilometres (100 miles) wide. Albategnius is a slightly smaller (136 kilometres) but magnificent walled-plain, its walls having huge peaks rising in places 3000-4250 metres (10-14000 feet) above the plain. Its central peak is 1200 metres (4000 feet) high. The smaller craters lying between the two are Halley (centre) and Hind (top), with Klein jutting into Albategniusʼ south-western (lower right) rim. The best time to observe and image the pair is at First and Last Quarter. This nice image was taken by Marnix Praet from Belgium with a ten-inch (250mm) Newtonian fitted with a 3x Televue barlow and a DMK21 camera.
As avid skywatchers will already know, all of the bright naked-eye planets are currently visible in the pre-dawn sky — the first time in eleven years that such an alignment has occurred. At 6am GMT on Monday, 1 February, the last quarter Moon in the constellation Libra lies just 2½ degrees from magnitude +0.8 planet Mars low in the south for UK observers.
Have you ever seen planet Uranus? If skies are clear in the UK and Western Europe on the evening of Sunday, 10 February, see this icy gas giant less than 2 degrees (or four lunar diameters) from Mars and 6 degrees from the 5-day-old crescent Moon. In fact, you’ll see all three in a single view of wide-angle binoculars like 7×50s.