Bessel (crater)

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Bessel crater AS17-M-2096.jpg
Apollo 17 Mapping Camera image
Coordinates21°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
Diameter16 km
Depth1.7 km
Colongitude342° at sunrise
EponymFriedrich W. Bessel
Satellite craters of Bessel
Oblique Apollo 15 Panoramic Camera image (from figure 145, Apollo Over the Moon, NASA SP-362)
Another view facing north at a higher sun angle from Apollo 15

Bessel is a small lunar impact 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 and west-northwest of the smaller Deselligny. It is also east-southeast of Hornsby crater which is located northwest of its satellite crater Bessel F and about 150 km away is Banting crater located north-northwest and is also west-northwest of its satellite crater Bessel H.

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.

A large ray, most likely from Tycho, crosses the mare from north to south, passing Bessel's western side. This ray is called the Bessel Ray, which is an unofficial name. The earlier name of that feature was appeared in Johannes Hevelius's 1647 map which called it "Paludes Inferiores" which is the "Lower Marsh" in Latin, that portion was actually not lower and upper as there was no elevation map exist then.[1]

Southeast of Bessel is a wrinkle ridge, the Dorsa Lister which runs southeast then northeast in a semicircular shape.


The crater was named after the German astronomer Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel. The crater was officially named by the IAU in 1935.[2]

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:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hevelius map of the Moon (1647)
  2. ^ Bessel, Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature, International Astronomical Union (IAU) Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature (WGPSN)
  • Andersson, L. E.; Whitaker, E. A. (1982). NASA Catalogue of Lunar Nomenclature. NASA RP-1097.
  • Blue, Jennifer (July 25, 2007). "Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature". USGS. Retrieved 2007-08-05.
  • Bussey, B.; Spudis, P. (2004). The Clementine Atlas of the Moon. New York: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-81528-4.
  • Cocks, Elijah E.; Cocks, Josiah C. (1995). Who's Who on the Moon: A Biographical Dictionary of Lunar Nomenclature. Tudor Publishers. ISBN 978-0-936389-27-1.
  • McDowell, Jonathan (July 15, 2007). "Lunar Nomenclature". Jonathan's Space Report. Retrieved 2007-10-24.
  • Menzel, D. H.; Minnaert, M.; Levin, B.; Dollfus, A.; Bell, B. (1971). "Report on Lunar Nomenclature by the Working Group of Commission 17 of the IAU". Space Science Reviews. 12 (2): 136–186. Bibcode:1971SSRv...12..136M. doi:10.1007/BF00171763.
  • Moore, Patrick (2001). On the Moon. Sterling Publishing Co. ISBN 978-0-304-35469-6.
  • Price, Fred W. (1988). The Moon Observer's Handbook. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-33500-3.
  • Rükl, Antonín (1990). Atlas of the Moon. Kalmbach Books. ISBN 978-0-913135-17-4.
  • Webb, Rev. T. W. (1962). Celestial Objects for Common Telescopes (6th revised ed.). Dover. ISBN 978-0-486-20917-3.
  • Whitaker, Ewen A. (1999). Mapping and Naming the Moon. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-62248-6.
  • Wlasuk, Peter T. (2000). Observing the Moon. Springer. ISBN 978-1-85233-193-1.

External links[edit]

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