From The Moon
Jump to: navigation, search


Lat: 11.4°S, Long: 26.4°E, Diam: 110 km, Depth: 4.1 km, Rükl: 46, Eratosthenian

external image normal_Theo%20Cyrillus%20A16-M-0692.jpg
Apollo A16-M-0692
Southward oblique Fairchild-camera view of the trio Theophilus, Cyrillus, and Catharina. The partially depicted crater at left is Madler.


LPOD Photo Gallery Lunar Orbiter Images Apollo Images ASU Apollo Image Archive
WARNING: the name Theophilus is mentioned on many orbital frames of Apollo 12's three stereo-strips 56-B, 56-C, and 56-D. In fact, most of these frames don't show Theophilus at all! All the frames of these three stereo-strips show the same caption: DESCARTES - LALANDE - MCCLURE - THEOPHILUS (which seem to have been four of the most important "landmarks" on these stereo-strips).- DannyCaes Aug 15, 2010

  • Frame 3078, made by Lunar Orbiter 3, shows an oblique southward view of Theophilus.
  • A spectacular mosaic of orbital Apollo 16 Hi-Res photographs, made by the dedicated lunar observer Bob Pilz, shows an overview of Theophilus's floor and central peak system.
  • Theophilus's system of central peaks is noticeable near the "lower part" of the horizon on Apollo 12's orbital oblique westward-looking Hasselblad photograph AS12-51-7570.
  • Research Lunar Orbiter and Apollo photographs: Danny Caes

Chesley Bonestell's painting of Theophilus

In Willy Ley's book The Conquest of Space (1951), there's a wonderful painting made by Chesley Bonestell which shows a southward oblique view of Theophilus and nearby craters Madler, Cyrillus, and Catharina. This painting looks very much like one of Apollo 16's southward oblique looking orbital mapping/metric camera photographs made in april 1972. The sun's illumination in the painting, however, shows the lunar landscape during the pre-sunset hours, while Apollo 16's photographs of the same region show it during the post-sunrise hours. In the Dutch translated version of Willy Ley's book (De Sprong in het Heelal)(1951, translated by J. De Groot) this painting was printed as Plate XIXa, between pages 38 and 39. I don't know if the original book (The Conquest of Space) shows it at the same plate-number and between the same pages (?).
- DannyCaes Apr 15, 2012


(LAC zone 78C2) LAC map Geologic map LM map LTO map


Description: Elger

(IAU Directions) THEOPHILUS.--The most northerly of three of the noblest ring-mountains on the visible surface of the moon, situated on the N.W. side of the Mare Nectaris. It is nearly 64 miles in diameter, and is enclosed by a mighty rampart towering above the floor at one peak on the E. to the height of 18,000 feet, and at two other peaks on the opposite side to nearly 16,000 and 14,000. The border, though appearing nearly circular with low powers, is seen, under greater magnification, to be made up of several more or less linear sections, which give it a polygonal outline. It is prominently terraced within, the loftier terraces on the E. rising nearly to the height of the crest of the wall, and including several craters and elongated depressions. On the E. glacis is a row of large inosculating craters; and near its foot, S.W. of Madler, a short unrecorded rill- valley. The magnificent bright central mountain is composed of many distinct masses surmounted by lofty peaks, one of which is about 6,000 feet above the floor, and covers an area of at least 300 square miles. Except a distinct crater on the S.E. quarter, this appears to be the only object within the ring.

Description: Wikipedia


Additional Information

  • Depth data from Kurt Fisher database
    • Pike, 1976: 4.1 km
    • Westfall, 2000: 4.1 km
    • Viscardy, 1985: 4.4 km
    • Cherrington, 1969: 6.79 km
  • East rim slope 46° (Pohn, 1963)
  • Central peak composition: A, GNTA1, GNTA2, AT (Tompkins & Pieters, 1999)
  • Exterior impact melt deposits most extensive to NE, max of ~45 km beyond rim. Most extensive ejecta, rays and secondary craters to the NE, with max wall slumping on SW side of crater, and topographically lowest rim crest to NE (Hawke and Head, 1977).
  • Satellite crater Theophilus B is on the ALPO list of bright ray craters.
  • The central peak of Theophilus is a thermal anomaly, probably due to downslope movement revealing fresh boulders - Moore et al, 1980
  • Sekiguchi measures the interior hills and provides a map. The named features measured and their heights are:
  • TSI = 30, CPI = 20, FI = 20; MI =70 Smith and Hartnell, 1973
  • V.A.Firsoff observed a faint mist in Theophilus on 25th June 1955. Source: The Old Moon and the New (V.A.Firsoff, 1969), page 183.- DannyCaes May 19, 2012

Lunar Ellipse of Fire

The rim of Theophilus is (or was?) number eight in the list of 12 localities in the Lunar Ellipse of Fire (see article from Farouk El-Baz in Sky and Telescope - June 1973).


Theophilus of Alexandria, (died 412) was the Nicene Pope of Alexandria, Egypt (385 - 412). He is regarded as a saint by the Coptic Church.
The cluster of central peaks at Theophilus seems to have been called Theophilus Alpha, Theophilus Phi, and Theophilus Psi.

LPOD Articles

Ring Around a Basin. A Classic Trio Theo as You’ve Never See It Theophilus Sunrise on a Familiar Threesome Theophilusian Suprises A Peak at Some Peaks Another Kind of Melt Linears

Lunar 100

L8: "Theophilus, Cyrillus, Catharina", Crater sequence illustrating stages of degradation.


Wood, C.A. Nov. 2004. Ghost Craters and Lava Lakes S&T 11/2004:63
APOLLO OVER THE MOON; A VIEW FROM ORBIT, Chapter 5: Craters (Part 5); Figure 166, (Part 6); Figures 167 and 168.