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Start to see the moon’s Mare Imbrium mountains on Sunday (Sept. 4)

An image of the moon shows the location of the Mare Imbrium basin. The mountain range that marks the northern rim of the basin will be visible from Earth on Sunday.

A graphic of the moon shows the positioning of the Mare Imbrium basin. The mountain range that marks the northern rim of the basin will undoubtedly be visible from Earth on Sunday. (Image credit: Srbauer/NASA/Robert Lea)

On Sunday, Sept. 4, a magnificent mountain range on the moon will transfer to view for skywatchers.

The mountains mark the rim of Mare Imbrium, also called the fantastic Imbrium Basin, a massive lava plain on the lunar surface developed by an enormous impact from space nearly 4 billion years back.

The Mare Imbrium may be the largest basin on the near side of the moon with a diameter of around 721 miles (around 1160 kilometers). Though just around half how big is the South-Pole-Aitken Basin on the moon’s far side, Mare Imbrium continues to be among the solar system‘s largest craters.

Related: Moon viewing guide: What things to search for on the lunar surface

The arc of mountains furthest north may be the Lunar Alps or Montes Alpes which includes a huge selection of peaks stretching 173 miles (280 kilometers). The best of the Mount Blanc towers 2.2 miles (3.6 kilometers) above the lunar surface.

A rest runs through the Lunar Alps called the Alpine Valley or the Vallis Alpes that was formed once the moon’s crust dropped between parallel faults. On Sept. 4, this area ought to be visible with binoculars or perhaps a telescope.

Below the Lunar Alps also to the southeast of the moon will be the Caucasus Mountains Montes Caucasus a mountain range that sinks beneath a lava-flooded plain connecting Mare Imbrium with Mare Serenitatis, also referred to as the ‘Sea of Serenity’ located to the southeast.

September 4 - Mare Imbrium Mountains

(Image credit: Starry Night Software)

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The Apennine Mountains Montes Apenninus border the Mare Imbrium’s southeastern edge. This rugged mountain range, that was named for the Apennine Mountains in Italy, rises up from the nearby prominent lunar crater Eratosthenes and arcs from the east to northwest rising to meet up the Mare Imbrium at the Promontorium Fresnel which itself lies between your Mare Imbrium and the Mare Serenitatis.

Circling the south side of near crater Copernicus may be the Montes Carpatus mountain range. Opposite this side of the Mare Imbrium, also to the northwest of the crater, is really a plain of basaltic lava called the Sinus Iridum, or the Bay of Rainbows.

An image of the Mare Imbrium basin, a massive on the moon with a mountain range at its northerly ridge was taken by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.

A graphic of the Mare Imbrium basin, an enormous on the moon with a mountain range at its northerly ridge was taken by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. (Image credit: NASA)

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The Mare Imbrium, portion of the moon’s violent past

Thought to be the next youngest lunar basin, lunar scientists think the Mare Imbrium has formed 3.85 billion years back whenever a proto-planet collided with the moon.

This impact corresponds with an interval in the moon’s history called the Late Heavy Bombardment (LHB), also called the lunar cataclysm.

The LHB occurred between around 4.1 to 3.8 billion years back throughout a period in the solar system that saw the planet earth system like the moon and another inner planets experience a big upsurge in space rock impactors.

Though there is absolutely no firm explanation because of this increased bombardment, some planetary scientists believe it could have already been caused once the giant planets of the solar system altered their orbits due to interactions with loose material like gas, dust, as well as small space rocks.

This might have disturbed the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter and comets of the Kuiper belt at the outer edge of the solar system, providing them with eccentric orbits that brought them into connection with the inner planets Mars, Earth, Venus, and Mercury and the moon.

Following a impact that created the Mare Imbrium basin, further space rock impacts left smaller and younger craters within it. Then on the next several hundred million years, volcanic events flooded the region with lava, abandoning lava-filled craters called mare patches.

Consequently, the spot of Mare Imbrium, its mountains, ridges, channels, plains, and craters mark a remarkable insight in to the moon’s geological past. One which skywatchers have a thrilling possibility to view for themselves on Sunday.

Editor’s Note: In the event that you snap an image of the Mare Imbrium and wish to share it with Space.com’s readers, send your photo(s), comments, as well as your name and location to spacephotos@space.com.

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RobertLeais a science journalist in the U.K. whose articles have already been published in Physics World, New Scientist, Astronomy Magazine, ABOUT Space, Newsweek and ZME Science. He also writes about science communication for Elsevier and the European Journal of Physics. Rob holds a bachelor of science degree in physics and astronomy from the U.K.s Open University. Follow him on Twitter @sciencef1rst.

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