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.
Skywatchers in Western Europe looking at the rising 13-day-old gibbous Moon in the south-southeast at dusk on Sunday, 27 May can also see prime-time Jupiter within the same binocular field of view. But look closer in the vicinity of the solar system’s largest planet and you’ll see an easily resolved double star – alpha Librae.
As dawn creeps across Western Europe on the morning of Thursday, 10 September, a close conjunction of the two brightest objects in the nighttime sky is taking place low in the east an hour before sunrise. So, set your alarm for 5:30am in the UK to see a beautiful juxtaposition of a 26-day-old waning crescent Moon and dazzling planet Venus in the twilight.