Clavius — a lunar mystery

How one of the largest and most prominent features on the Moon got its name.

Copyright NASA,

The lunar surface — a cratered landscape

Image 1:Craters and seas on the moon. Copyright: NASA,
Image 2: Craters Tycho and Clavius. Copyright: NASA,

Image 2:Craters Tycho and ClaviusThe naming of craters

It is completely appropriate that Tycho be honoured with one of the most prominent craters on the Moon. Yet Galileo does not have a major crater to his name — the even larger crater south of Tycho being named Clavius after a relatively little-known 16th-century mathematician and astronomer.

Image 3: Lunar Reconnaissance orbiter image. Copyright: NASA, LROC.

Image 3: Lunar Reconnaissance orbiter imageApollo 11 astronauts get their own craters

Panorama of tranquillity base, showing little West crater. Image Credit: NASA,

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