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Lat: 10.47°N, Long: 62.81°W, Diam: 15.52 km, Depth: 2.21 km, Rükl: 28

external image normal_Galilaei_LO-IV-162H_LTVT.JPG


LPOD Photo Gallery Lunar Orbiter Images

  • Galilaei was captured on Apollo 17's NIKON-camera photographs AS17-158-23893 (near the right part of the frame's upper margin), 23894 (near the central part of the frame's upper margin), and 23895 (near the frame's upper right corner) (all three photographs were made in earthlight circumstances).
  • Galilaei was also captured in the last frames of Apollo 15's oblique southward looking Fairchild camera photographs of REV 71. In these last (morning terminator) frames, distant Galilaei is detectable near the curved horizon.
  • Research orbital Apollo photography: Danny Caes


(LAC zone 56A3) LAC map Geologic map



(IAU Directions) GALILEO.--A ring-plain, about 9 miles in diameter, N.W. of Reiner, associated with ridges, some of which extend to the "Jew's Harp" marking referred to under this formation. (note: the "Jew's Harp" is the swirl pattern now known as Reiner Gamma)



Additional Information

  • IAU page: Galilaei
  • Depth data from Kurt Fisher database
    • Westfall, 2000: 2.21 km
    • Viscardy, 1985: 2 km
    • Cherrington, 1969: 2.01 km
  • Galilaei: TSI = 25, CPI = 5, FI = 15; MI =45 Smith and Sanchez, 1973
  • Galilaei A: TSI = 5, CPI = 5, FI = 5; MI =15 Smith and Sanchez, 1973
  • The pair Galilaei and Galilaei A are a distinct observer's target during Waning Crescent Moon, when the western inner slopes of both craters are shadowed, and show up as two dark dots, northwest of the curious high-albedo spot officially known as Reiner Gamma (observed on the morning of September the 10th, 2015, Viking refractor on the attic of - DannyCaes Sep 10, 2015).


  • Named for Galileo Galilei (15 February 1564 – 8 January 1642), an Italian physicist, mathematician, astronomer, and philosopher who is closely associated with the scientific revolution. His achievements include the first systematic studies of uniformly accelerated motion, improvements to the telescope, a variety of astronomical observations, and support for Copernicanism. Galileo is often referred to as the "father of modern astronomy", as the "father of modern physics", and as the "father of science". Click here for more on Galileo's contributions to lunar science.
  • The naming of this crater has a rather tortured history. The modern IAU nomenclature descends most directly from that used by the Jesuit priest Riccioli on his map from 1651. Although Galileo was probably the most famous astronomer of the age, his works were, by that time, on the Index of Prohibited Books, so one must assume Riccioli was a bit leery of giving Galileo too prominent a place on the Moon (although, surprisingly, he did give Copernicus -- whose book was also on the Index -- one). As Whitaker notes (p. 65) Riccioli relegated Galileo and his fellow Copernicans to the Sea of Storms. According to Whitaker (pp. 123-5 and 212), Riccioli used the name Galilaeus (a Latinized version of Galileo's family name) to designate the albedo feature Reiner Gamma; thought, at that time, to be a minor crater. When Mädler discovered it was not a crater, he moved the name to its present location, and changed the spelling to Galiläi, which is a Germanized form of the Latin Galilaei (meaning "of Galilei"). According to Mary Blagg's Collated List (where this crater appears as catalog #1843), Schmidt used both forms while Neison used Galilai on his map and Galileo in his index. In 1935 the present name was adopted into the original IAU nomenclature of Blagg and Müller, although the a & e were probably meant to be combined into the Latin ligature æ . Most such spellings requiring non-standard characters were removed in 1961 when the IAU adopted the recommendations in Table III of Kuiper's Photographic Lunar Atlas, although Galilæi is not specifically mentioned. - Jim Mosher

LPOD Articles


Galileo Galilei in the Sourcebook Project (William R. Corliss)

- In Mysterious Universe, a handbook of astronomical anomalies (1979) :
  • Page 424: The Moons of Mars (Roscoe Lamont, Popular Astronomy, 1925) (Possible Pre-1877 Observations).

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