Rayleigh (lunar crater)

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Rayleigh LROC.jpg
LRO image
Coordinates29°18′N 89°36′E / 29.3°N 89.6°E / 29.3; 89.6Coordinates: 29°18′N 89°36′E / 29.3°N 89.6°E / 29.3; 89.6
Diameter113.77 km
Colongitude273° at sunrise
EponymLord Rayleigh
Oblique Apollo 14 Hasselblad camera image
Oblique view from Apollo 16
Rayleigh and surroundings. NASA photo.

Rayleigh is a lunar impact crater, approximately 114 kilometers in diameter, that lies along the northeast limb of the Moon. This feature is seen edge-on from Earth, making it difficult to see much detail. In addition, libration effects can completely hide this crater from view. It lies just to the north of Lyapunov, and to the northwest of the large Joliot. Attached to its southwest rim is the smaller Urey.[1]


This is an eroded formation with a rim that has been worn and reshaped by impacts. This is particularly so in the south where the rim has been modified and supplemented by adjacent crater formations and several small craters that lie along the rim.

The interior floor is relatively level in places, but, partly due to overlapping ejecta, is somewhat rough and irregular in others, particularly in the southern half. A pair of small but prominent craters lies on the interior surface, with Rayleigh D just to the south of the crater midpoint and the smaller Rayleigh B situated in the western half.

Rayleigh was named for John William Strutt, 3rd Baron Rayleigh.[1]

Satellite craters[edit]

By convention these features are identified on lunar maps by placing the letter on the side of the crater midpoint that is closest to Rayleigh.

Rayleigh Latitude Longitude Diameter Refs
B 28.9° N 88.4° E 15.48 km WGPSN
C 31.4° N 85.7° E 26.13 km WGPSN
D 28.9° N 89.7° E 22.3 km WGPSN

The following craters have been renamed by the IAU.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Rayleigh (lunar crater)". Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature. USGS Astrogeology Research Program.
  • Andersson, L. E.; Whitaker, E. A. (1982). NASA Catalogue of Lunar Nomenclature. NASA RP-1097.
  • Blue, Jennifer (July 25, 2007). "Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature". USGS. Retrieved 2007-08-05.
  • Bussey, B.; Spudis, P. (2004). The Clementine Atlas of the Moon. New York: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-81528-4.
  • Cocks, Elijah E.; Cocks, Josiah C. (1995). Who's Who on the Moon: A Biographical Dictionary of Lunar Nomenclature. Tudor Publishers. ISBN 978-0-936389-27-1.
  • McDowell, Jonathan (July 15, 2007). "Lunar Nomenclature". Jonathan's Space Report. Retrieved 2007-10-24.
  • Menzel, D. H.; Minnaert, M.; Levin, B.; Dollfus, A.; Bell, B. (1971). "Report on Lunar Nomenclature by the Working Group of Commission 17 of the IAU". Space Science Reviews. 12 (2): 136–186. Bibcode:1971SSRv...12..136M. doi:10.1007/BF00171763.
  • Moore, Patrick (2001). On the Moon. Sterling Publishing Co. ISBN 978-0-304-35469-6.
  • Price, Fred W. (1988). The Moon Observer's Handbook. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-33500-3.
  • Rükl, Antonín (1990). Atlas of the Moon. Kalmbach Books. ISBN 978-0-913135-17-4.
  • Webb, Rev. T. W. (1962). Celestial Objects for Common Telescopes (6th revised ed.). Dover. ISBN 978-0-486-20917-3.
  • Whitaker, Ewen A. (1999). Mapping and Naming the Moon. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-62248-6.
  • Wlasuk, Peter T. (2000). Observing the Moon. Springer. ISBN 978-1-85233-193-1.