Degas (crater)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Degas Crater View messenger full.jpg
Degas crater, MESSENGER spacecraft image, 2011. Inset is Mariner 10 image from 1974.
Planet Mercury
Coordinates 37°30′N 127°00′W / 37.5°N 127°W / 37.5; -127Coordinates: 37°30′N 127°00′W / 37.5°N 127°W / 37.5; -127
Diameter 54 km
Discoverer Mariner 10
Eponym Edgar Degas

Degas is a rayed crater on Mercury at latitude 37.5 N, longitude 127 W. It is 54 km (27 mi) wide and was named after the French impressionist painter Edgar Degas. Its name was adopted by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) in 1979. The rays consist of light colored material blasted out during the crater's formation. Craters older than Degas are covered by the ray material, while younger craters are seen superimposed on the rays.[1]

Degas Crater and rays, in a 1974 Mariner 10 image.

Degas forms a crater pair with Brontë to the north and is surrounded by Sobkou Planitia. Almost south is Heine and further east are Damer and Gibran.

The crater's floor contains cracks that formed as the pool of impact melt cooled and shrank. The high-reflectance material on the walls and in the central portion of the crater probably has a composition distinct from that of the crater floor and surroundings. The illumination conditions and down-slope movement of eroded material exposing fresh rock also contribute to the bright appearance.[2]


  1. ^ Nemiroff, R.; Bonnell, J., eds. (16 December 2000). "Degas Ray Crater on Mercury". Astronomy Picture of the Day. NASA.
  2. ^ Degas Crater Archived 2014-09-14 at the Wayback Machine. at NASA Messenger website. This article incorporates public domain text from this US government website.

External links[edit]