While the observation of Moon craters is the first joy of beginners in astronomy, its light quickly becomes a drawback when observing fainter stars and deep sky objects. Most astronomers generally put away their telescopes when the Moon appears.
As I was testing the new Moon map of Starmap in real conditions, I’ve been surprised by how much there is to see there. Its geology and its formation are well illustrated by some of its surface structures, easily observable, even with binoculars. The spokes around the crater Tycho, sometimes as long as 1500 km, are amazing witness of catastrophic collisions. Seas and Oceans — or Mare — are ancient lava pools. But my favorite is certainly the Great Wall (Rupes Recta). Imagine a 100 long cliff, 300 meters high, and perfectly straight.
My point here is not to talk about the Moon formation, but how to use Starmap to re-discover it. Travelling on the lunar surface with a telescope and a paper map is not so easy. So, enter your optics configuration in Starmap and switch to the eye piece mode. Some optics are inverting the image, making the spotting even more difficult. Just swipe your finger vertically or horizontally to have Starmap exactly display what you see in real.
When you observe the Moon, the bottom menu will change. Beside the Moon catalogue, you will find the Moon Brightness slider. Adjust the brightness and contrast so that it reflects what you see in your eye-piece. I added this function after the first tests as the map was too bright for large magnifications, making any identification almost impossible. Matching the map to the real observation conditions is the key to successful observations. Then search for Rupes Recta in the catalogue and simply follow the yellow arrow.
Moon structures are best observed at the limit between light and shadow, at grazing incidence of light. Using the frontier as a start point, spotting a well identifiable structure helps a lot to know where you are — especially when changing your eye piece. The Moon Image in Starmap is a compound of many images taken near the light/shadow limit. So do not be surprised that when going away from the shadow, the contrast will decrease, compared to what Starmap shows you.
Try the map. This is an invitation to rediscover the Moon, and you will be amazed by how much you can see there !
PS: I am presently working on Moon librations for future releases.