Plato is the maria-surfaced remains of a lunar impact crater. It is located on the northeastern shore of the Mare Imbrium, at the western extremity of the Montes Alpes mountainous range. In the maria to the south are several rises collectively named the Montes Teneriffe. To the north lies the wide stretch of the Mare Frigoris. East of the crater, among the Montes Alpes, are several rilles collectively named the Rimae Plato.
The age of the Plato walled-plain is about 3 billion years; younger than the Mare Imbrium to the south. The rim is irregular with 2-km-tall jagged peaks that project prominent shadows across the crater floor when the sun is at a low angle. Sections of the inner wall display signs of past slumping, most notably a large triangular slide along the western side. The rim of Plato is circular, but from the Earth it appears oblong due to foreshortening.
The flat floor of Plato crater has a relatively low albedo, making it appear dark in comparison to the surrounding rugged terrain. The floor is free of significant impact craters and lacks a central peak. However there are a few small craterlets scattered across the floor.
Plato has developed a reputation for various transient lunar phenomenon, including flashes of light, unusual color patterns, and areas of hazy visibility. These anomalies are likely a result of seeing conditions, combined with the effects of different illumination angles of the Sun.
The Polish astronomer Hevelius originally called this feature the 'Greater Black Lake'.
By convention these features are identified on lunar maps by placing the letter on the side of the crater mid-point that is closest to Plato crater.
The following craters have been renamed by the IAU:
Plato A See Bliss crater.