See the moon's 'Golden Handle' shine on Saturday

Starry Night graphic showing the location of the Golden Handle on the lunar surface
Mare Imbrium's Golden Handle will be visible on July 9. (Image credit: Starry Night)

Look up at the waxing gibbous with a pair of binoculars or a small telescope on Saturday (July 9) and enjoy the surface light effect known as the "Golden Handle".

This interesting lunar feature appears when "low-angled sunlight strikes the prominent Montes Jura mountain range" in the lunar northwest, writes geophysicist Chris Vaughan, an amateur astronomer with SkySafari Software who oversees's Night Sky calendar

To find the "Golden Handle" look to the northwest region of the moon where the terminator — the line that divides the light and dark sides of the moon — falls just west of the prominent plain Sinus Iridum plain, also known as Bay of Rainbows. From here you'll be able to see the bright arc or "Golden Handle" of the Montes Jura mountain range flank Sinus Iridum to the north and west. 

Related: The brightest planets in July's night sky: How to see them (and when)  

Though the "Golden Handle" is undoubtedly the star of the show, Sinus Iridum also makes for an interesting observation target. The 155-mile (249 kilometer) diameter impact crater was once flooded by the same basalt that filled the much larger Mare Imbrium to its east.

"Sinus Iridum is almost craterless," writes Vaughan. "But hosts a set of northeast-oriented wrinkle ridges that are revealed at this phase.

Fancy taking a more in-depth moonlit tour of our rocky companion? Our ultimate guide to observing the moon will help you plan your next skywatching venture whether it be exploring the lunar seas, mountainous terrain, or the many craters that blanket the landscape. You can also see where astronauts, rovers and landers have ventured with our Apollo landing sites observing guide


Celestron Astro Fi 102

(Image credit: Celestron)

Looking for a telescope for the next stargazing event? We recommend the Celestron Astro Fi 102 as the top pick in our best beginner's telescope guide

If you're looking for a telescope or binoculars to observe the moon in more detail, our guides for the best binoculars deals and the best telescope deals now can help. Our best cameras for astrophotography and best lenses for astrophotography can also help you prepare to capture the next skywatching sight on your own. 

Editor's Note: If you snap a photo of the Golden Handle and would like to share it with's readers, send your photo(s), comments, and your name and location to 

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Daisy Dobrijevic
Reference Editor

Daisy Dobrijevic joined in February 2022 having previously worked for our sister publication All About Space magazine as a staff writer. Before joining us, Daisy completed an editorial internship with the BBC Sky at Night Magazine and worked at the National Space Centre in Leicester, U.K., where she enjoyed communicating space science to the public. In 2021, Daisy completed a PhD in plant physiology and also holds a Master's in Environmental Science, she is currently based in Nottingham, U.K. Daisy is passionate about all things space, with a penchant for solar activity and space weather. She has a strong interest in astrotourism and loves nothing more than a good northern lights chase!