Thursday, February 9, 2012

Mercury Close-up: Hovnatanian Crater (NASA, MESSENGER, 01/16/12)

Editor's note: I believe this striking crater on Mercury is named for the nineteenth century Armenian painter, Hakop Hovnatanian.

Hovnatanian crater was formed by an object that impacted at a very oblique angle, causing the crater to appear elliptical. Although impacts at most angles produce circular craters, impacts with incidence angles <15º (from the horizontal) will create elliptical craters. The rays of Hovnatanian form a "butterfly" pattern, which also indicates an oblique impact.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington

Original image:

More about the MESSENGER mission to Mercury:

For information regarding the use of MESSENGER images, see the image use policy:

View the Mercury MESSENGER photoset:

These official NASA photographs are being made available for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photographs. The photographs may not be used in materials, advertisements, products, or promotions that in any way suggest approval or endorsement by NASA. All Images used must be credited. For information on usage rights please visit:

No comments: