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.
All five of the bright naked-eye planets are observable in the pre-dawn sky from about the third week of January 2016, particularly if one lives south of the equator. But even from the UK, you can get to view the spectacle if you time it right — and the weather obliges! The last time that Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn appeared in the same sky was 11 years ago.
Even casual skywatchers cannot fail to notice brightest planet Venus currently hanging like a lantern above the southwest horizon at dusk. But as Venus moves eastwards through Aquarius on successive nights, it draws closer to outermost (and faintest) planet Neptune until the pair reach a particularly close conjunction on the UK evening of Monday, 27 January.