Bessel (crater)

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Bessel crater AS17-M-2096.jpg
Apollo 17 Mapping Camera image
Coordinates 21°48′N 17°54′E / 21.8°N 17.9°E / 21.8; 17.9Coordinates: 21°48′N 17°54′E / 21.8°N 17.9°E / 21.8; 17.9
Diameter 16 km
Depth 1.7 km
Colongitude 342° at sunrise
Eponym Friedrich W. Bessel
Oblique Apollo 15 Panoramic Camera image
(This is Figure 145 from 'Apollo Over the Moon', NASA SP-362)

Bessel is a small lunar crater that is located in the southern half of the Mare Serenitatis. Despite its small size, this is the largest crater to lie entirely within the mare. It lies to the north-northeast of the crater Menelaus.

This crater is circular and bowl-shaped with a rim that has a higher albedo than the floor or the surrounding mare. The outer rim is not significantly worn, and there are no features of note on the interior, apart from some slumping of material from the inner walls to the floor. Bessel is not of sufficient size to have developed the terrace structures of larger craters. It was named after Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel.

A large ray, most likely from Tycho, crosses the mare from north to south, passing Bessel's western side.

The crater was officially named by the IAU in 1935.[1]

Satellite craters[edit]

By convention these features are identified on lunar maps by placing the letter on the side of the crater midpoint that is closest to Bessel.

Bessel Latitude Longitude Diameter
D 27.3° N 19.9° E 5 km
F 21.2° N 13.8° E 1 km
G 21.1° N 14.7° E 1 km
H 25.7° N 20.0° E 4 km

The following craters have been renamed by the IAU.


  1. ^ Bessel, Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature, International Astronomical Union (IAU) Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature (WGPSN)

External links[edit]