Von Kármán (lunar crater)

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Von Kármán
Von Karman LROC.jpg
LRO image
Coordinates 44°48′S 175°54′E / 44.8°S 175.9°E / -44.8; 175.9Coordinates: 44°48′S 175°54′E / 44.8°S 175.9°E / -44.8; 175.9
Diameter 180 km
Depth Unknown
Colongitude 188° at sunrise
Eponym Theodore von Kármán
Oblique Lunar Orbiter 5 image, facing west

Von Kármán is a lunar impact crater that is located in the southern hemisphere on the far side of the Moon. The northern third of this formation is overlain by the rim and outer rampart of the walled plain Leibnitz, forming a deep indentation in the formation. The remainder of the outer wall is roughly circular in shape, although it is irregular and heavily worn by subsequent impacts.

The interior of Von Kármán has been subjected to flooding by lava flows after the original crater formed, leaving the southern portion of the floor nearly flat. This surface has a lower albedo than the surrounding terrain, and is nearly as dark as the interior of Leibnitz. There is a central peak at the location where the midpoint of the original Von Kármán was formed, which joins with the rougher surface in the northern part of the crater.

In addition to Leibnitz to the north, the crater Oresme is located to the west-northwest, and Finsen lies to the northeast on the edge of Leibnitz's rim. Nearly attached to the southeast rim is the unusual figure-eight-shaped Von Kármán L formation. Directly to the east of this is the crater Alder.

Prior to formal naming in 1970 by the IAU,[1] the crater was known as Crater 434.[2]

This crater is the proposed landing site for the 2018 Chinese lander Chang'e 4.[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 Von Kármán.

Von Kármán Latitude Longitude Diameter
L 47.7° S 177.9° E 29 km
M 47.2° S 176.2° E 225 km
R 45.8° S 170.8° E 28 km


  1. ^ Von Kármán, Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature, International Astronomical Union (IAU) Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature (WGPSN)
  2. ^ Lunar Farside Chart (LFC-1A)
  3. ^ China’s Journey to the Lunar Far Side: A Missed Opportunity? Read more at https://www.airspacemag.com/daily-planet/chinas-journey-lunar-far-side-missed-opportunity-180963703/#F0gL6i1zvLXdFyL3.99. Paul D. Spudis, Air & Space Smithsonian. 14 June 2017.