Craters On The Moon And Their Origin

“Craters On The Moon” -written by Jai Mirchandani, reviewed by Ankush

Since childhood, we have been observing the only natural satellite of the planet i.e. moon, and it has never failed to cheer us with its prominent bright structure and different phases. Even though people have looked at the moon forever through our naked eyes, it is still everyone’s favorite when viewed through a telescope during our stargazing events. But why? What is the difference in telescopic view of the object, which is already massive enough to amaze us through naked eye view?

The telescopic view of the moon enables us to see several of its beautiful features, among which are craters of the moon which are not very prominent when seen through an unaided eye. So let’s understand more about the craters of the moon and their origin.

Moon crater

What are Craters?

Craters are huge, approximately hemispherical-shaped depressions, or in Layman’s terms, they are giant potholes that form on the surface of rocky heavenly bodies like our earth and the moon. 

moon crater close

How are Craters formed?

Craters on the moon are usually formed as a result of the impact of an asteroid, meteor, or comet on the surface of a heavenly body. Hence, they are also called impact craters to distinguish them from craters that are formed due to volcanic eruptions. 


How many craters are present on earth and the moon?

There are around 180 known impact craters on earth, whereas there are thousands of craters on the moon.

earth crater

Why does the moon have a large number of impact craters when compared to earth?

Earth has a very thick atmosphere, due to which most of the objects that could have been responsible for the creation of an impact crater are burnt before they reach the earth’s surface. Apart from that, the ones that do penetrate the earth’s atmosphere and reach the earth are gradually erased by erosion and weathering due to water, atmosphere, and tectonic activities, Hence, all the craters from the remote past have almost been erased away and only the comparatively recent ones are left.

Now, the moon has an extremely thin atmosphere compared to earth and hence, most of the impact objects that enter the moon’s vicinity create an impact with its surface and result in an impact crater. Also, there are no erosive activities that happen on the moon due to which its surface remains unaltered for billions of years. 

What are the different types of craters found on the moon?

The impact craters on the moon are usually of 3 types:
  1.   Simple Craters: These are the most common craters that resemble a giant bowl-shaped depression or pothole 
  2.  Complex Craters: When the steep crater walls collapse downward and inward, they form a complex structure with a central peak or peak ring and a shallower depth compared to the diameter. Such types of craters are called complex craters.
  3. impact basins: Craters that are very large (more than 300km in diameter are called impact basins .

Which is the biggest crater on the moon, and what is its size?

South Pole–Aitken basin is the largest crater located on the moon’s far side. It has a size of around 2500 km. The immensely large carter can be seen in the picture given below. Apart from this, there are many other beautiful craters on the moon, namely Tycho, Copernicus, Plato, etc. Many such craters are beautiful to watch and are visible through a telescope. So if you ever get a chance, do join us for our event and watch them live through a telescope.

Is there something interesting about the Moon’s crater that you think we missed? Then make sure to comment it down below! 

Enjoyed reading this article? Check out: The curious case of Pleiades: The 7 sisters

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