Vitello (crater)

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Vitello crater 4136 h3.jpg
Coordinates30°24′S 37°30′W / 30.4°S 37.5°W / -30.4; -37.5Coordinates: 30°24′S 37°30′W / 30.4°S 37.5°W / -30.4; -37.5
Diameter42 km
Depth1.7 km
Colongitude37° at sunrise
Lunar Orbiter 5 closeup of an area west of the central peak, showing large boulders on the surface.
LRO image of the pattern of dark deposits at the crest of the central peak of Vitello

Vitello is a lunar impact crater that lies along the southern edge of the small Mare Humorum, in the southwest part of the Moon's near side. It was named after 13th century Polish theologian and physicist Vitello.[1] It lies just to the east of the lava-flooded crater Lee. To the northeast along the edge of the lunar mare is the Rupes Kelvin, an irregular fault line.


This crater has a low, roughly circular rim with a sharp edge. The interior floor is irregular, rugged and hilly, with a smaller, concentric crater offset to the east of the midpoint. A low ridge projects out from the northwest rim into the mare.

Vitello was once believed to be a caldera rather than an impact crater. In To A Rocky Moon, lunar geologist Don E. Wilhelms summarized: It "is a Saari-Shorthill infrared hotspot,[2] is fractured, and is blanketed and surrounded by a dark deposit. If there is a caldera on the moon, this ought to be it." However, Lunar Orbiter 5 acquired high-resolution images of the interior and geologists noted that the fractures were filled with boulders which caused the infrared anomaly, and so volcanic heat was not escaping from Vitello. Wilhelms concluded "...if it is a caldera, its activity expired long ago."[3]

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 Vitello.

Vitello Latitude Longitude Diameter
A 34.1° S 41.9° W 21 km
B 31.1° S 35.4° W 11 km
C 32.4° S 42.5° W 14 km
D 33.2° S 41.0° W 18 km
E 29.2° S 35.8° W 7 km
G 32.3° S 37.6° W 10 km
H 32.8° S 43.0° W 12 km
K 31.9° S 37.6° W 13 km
L 31.6° S 35.3° W 7 km
M 32.4° S 36.0° W 7 km
N 32.1° S 36.1° W 5 km
P 31.2° S 38.4° W 9 km
R 33.0° S 37.0° W 3 km
S 30.8° S 35.2° W 6 km
T 33.8° S 39.6° W 9 km
X 32.2° S 40.6° W 8 km


  1. ^ "Vitello (crater)". Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature. USGS Astrogeology Research Program.
  2. ^ Shorthill, R. W., and Saari, J. M. 1966, Recent discovery of hot spots on the lunar surface - a brief report of infrared measurements on the eclipsed Moon. in Hess, W. N., Menzel, D. H., and O'Keefe, J. A., eds. The nature of the lunar surface - Proceedings of the 1965 IAU-NASA symposium: Baltimore, Johns Hopkins Press p. 215-228
  3. ^ To a Rocky Moon: A Geologist's History of Lunar Exploration. Don E. Wilhelms, University of Arizona Press (1993). ISBN 978-0816510658

External links[edit]