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.
Phenomenally durable crystals called zircons are used to date some of the earliest and most dramatic cataclysms of the solar system, such as the late heavy bombardment that created hellish surface conditions on the young Earth and Moon about 4 billion years ago. Now a study of zircons from a gigantic meteorite impact in South Africa casts doubt on the methods used to date lunar impacts.
The total solar eclipse of Wednesday, 9 March 2016 is of relatively long duration — 4m 9s at greatest eclipse — which occurs at 1:57 UT. Totality is visible from Sumatra, Borneo, Sulawesi and the North Pacific Ocean, while the partial phases can be seen from East Asia, Australia and the Pacific Ocean. See the event unfold in these new NASA timelapse visualisations.
A hundred days have passed since Mars was closest to Earth this year, but the Red Planet can still be seen in the early evening sky close to the jewel of the solar system, Saturn. If you wish to identify this pair of planets, then a convenient celestial marker in the form of the waxing crescent Moon passes by on the evenings of 8—9 September in the UK and Western Europe.