Copernicus, Tycho, Giordano Bruno
One of the most dramatic craters, complete with a system of rays that expand out hundreds of miles from its center, is the Copernicus Crater. This crater is about 57 miles in diameter and is in the Mare Imbrium. It was named after Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543), the Polish/Prussian astronomer who posited the shocking idea that the Earth revolved around the Sun and not the other way around. He died on the same day he was given a galley proof of his book On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres. Copernicus was an expert in many fields. Astonishingly, given the impact of his discoveries, he considered astronomy something of a hobby.
Tycho Brahe (1546-1601) was a Danish astronomer whose name was given to a Moon crater. Tycho debunked the idea that the celestial spheres were permanent and flawless, as the ancients claimed they were. He also built research centers and observatories and was a mentor of Johannes Kepler. He also had a somewhat tumultuous personal life, having lost most of his nose in a duel. He was also rich, and so was able to allegedly wear a false nose of silver and gold. He had a pet elk that died after drinking too much beer one night and falling down a flight of stairs. His crater is in the southern hemisphere of the Moon, is about 53.5 miles across and only three miles deep. Some people believe the meteorite that created Tycho was a relative of the same meteorite that struck the Earth 65 million years ago and caused the extinction of the dinosaurs. Like Copernicus, Tycho has a beautiful ray system that can be seen easily from Earth. Rays are caused by the ejecta, or debris that was kicked out when the meteorite hit the Moon. There's another crater named after Tycho on Mars. The crater on Mars is named Tycho Brahe, and is bigger than the one on the Moon, which is simply named Tycho.
The Giordano Bruno Crater is on the far side of the Moon, but since it’s close to the limb, or edge, of the Moon there are times when the observer can just see it, which a group of English monks did in the 12th century. It’s 14 miles in diameter and of unknown depth. Giordano Bruno (1548-1600) was an Italian philosopher/astronomer/monk who not only believed that the Sun wasn’t the center of the Universe but was a star among other stars, and there were countless other worlds full of life, some of it intelligent. He was even accused of denying the Virginity of the Virgin Mary. Bruno’s views were so shocking that on February 17, 1600, the powers in Rome burned him for heresy and tossed what was left of him into the Tiber River.