Friday, May 14, 2010

Hokusai Crater

Pictured above is an impact crater first imaged during Mercury flyby 2 and drawing scientific attention because of its extensive system of rays, which extend over a thousand kilometers across the planet. The International Astronomical Union (IAU) recently approved the name Hokusai for this spectacular rayed crater. Hokusai is a prominent feature seen in Earth-based radar images of Mercury, and the name Hokusai was suggested by radar astronomer John K. Harmon. The crater's name honors the Japanese painter, draftsman, and printmaker, Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849). Hokusai is perhaps best known for the painting "Mount Fuji Seen Below a Wave at Kanagawa."

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

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