Home > Ephemeris Program, Observing, The Moon > 03/11/2016 – Ephemeris – The lunar Sea of Crises

03/11/2016 – Ephemeris – The lunar Sea of Crises

March 11, 2016

Ephemeris for Friday, March 11th.  The Sun will rise at 7:01.  It’ll be up for 11 hours and 42 minutes, setting at 6:44.   The Moon, 3 days past new, will set at 10:14 this evening.

Tonight the Moon shows one remarkable sea:  Mare Crisium or the Sea of Crises.  It is a large gray basin.  The largest feature visible in binoculars.  Because it’s near the Moon’s limb or edge it is foreshortened into an ellipse, with the long axis running north and south.  In actuality it is elliptical with the long axis east and west.  It looks funny on a geologic map of the whole moon or a Moon globe.  Its dimensions are 345 by 375 miles (570 by 620km).  It’s really a crater as are all seas whose impact asteroid reached down to the Moon’s magma and caused lava to well up to produce the flat floor.  When the sunlight is low as it is now wrinkle ridges will appear showing where successive lava flows have stopped and solidified.

Times are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.


Moon proper orientation

The Moon on its orientation in the southwest at 8 p.m.March 11, 2016. Created using Stellarium.

Moon via VMA

The Moon at 8 p.m. March 11, 2016 via Virtual Moon Atlas. Note that despite the difference in rotation, that the phase is s bit different. We’ll have to see which one is correct.

Mare Crisius via LRO

Mare Crisium from overhead with Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. The vertical lines are due to the north-south scans by the polar orbiting satellite. Credit: NASA/LRO/Virtual Moon Atlas.


  1. Tammy Nguyen
    March 12, 2016 at 9:24 am

    Hi Bob,
    why we had 2 moons last night 3/11 ~ 7:50 PM PT – I captured ~ 3 min video from a cloudy night. Just curious!

    Thank you,

  1. March 14, 2016 at 12:03 am
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