ALPO list of banded craters

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Banded Craters, and streamers

(glossary entry)


Many relatively fresh craters have dark radial bands visible on their inner walls. In the past the origin of the bands was mysterious but high resolution Lunar Orbiter images demonstrated that most bands are streaks of contrasting hued ejecta from the formation of the crater or for small, smooth-walled craters, narrow landslides of rim material toward the floor. Bands tend to be indicators of somewhat youthful surfaces, either because the crater is young or the wall slopes are steep enough that material continues to slide downslope.

Additional Information

  • The Association of Lunar & Planetary Observers (ALPO) maintains a list of banded craters as part of its Banded Craters Program. Their catalog is based on the list compiled by K. W. Abineri and A. P. Lenham, and is updated by recent observations.
  • Dark radial "spokes" on the inner slopes of small craters are easily detectable on orbital HiRes photographs of the moon's equatorial zones, made by the Clementine and Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) spacecrafts. Five examples of such banded craters are Gambart L, Grimaldi C, Lalande A, Schröter D, and Mercator A. The last one of the five (Mercator A) is nicknamed "the X-crater" by D.Caes because there's a curious X-shaped system of dark spokes in it. - DannyCaes Apr 8, 2008

Apollo Close-up and Oblique Photos of Banded Craters

Research: Danny Caes
  • Two dark rays or spokes at the northeastern part of the inner and outer slopes of Aristillus, see LROC shortlink
  • Bright and dark "spokes" on Asada's inner slopes were captured on AS17-P-2958 (scroll toward the "centre" of the frame).
  • Thin bright "spokes" on Franck's inner slopes were captured on AS17-P-9542 (scroll toward the frame's right margin).
  • Bright and dark "spokes" on Hansen A's inner slopes were captured on AS15-P-9151 (scroll toward the frame's right margin).
  • Dark radial bands on the inner slopes of Hume Z (the LTO's Li Po) were captured near the left margin of AS15-P-9101.
  • Isidorus D's inner slopes shows a magnificent system of bright thin radial streamers/"spokes". See photograph.
  • Carrel has a wonderful system of thin dark/bright streaks on its inner slopes. See photograph.
  • Langrenus M (see LPOD of july the 21st, 2008).
  • A medium-resolution scan of one of Apollo 10's orbital Hasselblads reveals ray-like "spokes" on Manners' inner slopes.
  • Torricelli C, see AS16-P-5301 (scroll all the way to photograph's right margin).

  • Lots of close ups of banded craters are noticeable in the Mapping/Metric photographs made by the Fairchild cameras aboard the SIM-bays of Apollo 15, 16, and 17. These zoom-able photographs are online at the ASU's Apollo Image Archive. Worthwile to explore and to investigate! - DannyCaes Apr 14, 2009

LPOD Articles

"The first real physical change on the Moon"
Not the Aurora (drawing of bright and dark "spokes" on a cone-shaped crater's inner slopes).

LROC Articles

Post N°748 Stratification in a Tranquil Sea (streamers on the inner slopes of Dionysius) -
Post N°777 Tender Tendrils on the inner slopes of Hipparchus G -


Banded Craters:

  • Masursky, K. et al 1978. Apollo over the Moon: A View from Orbit (NASA SP-362), Chapter 5: Craters. 1978.
  • * Moore, P. 1955. Life on the Moon, Irish Astronomical Journal Vol 3 (5), pp. 135 - 136. (discounts speculation about bands in Aristarchus being evidence of change on the Moon)
  • Robinson, L. J. 1963. "Banded Craters." Journal of the British Astronomical Association, Vol. 73, pp. 33-38. This article was reprinted in W. R. Corliss' Mysterious Universe; a handbook of Astronomical Anomalies (the Sourcebook Project, 1979), pages 206-207-208.