Astronomy:Herschel (Martian crater)

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Short description: Crater on Mars
Martian impact crater Herschel based on THEMIS Day IR.png
Martian impact crater Herschel based on THEMIS image
CoordinatesCoordinates: 14°54′S 130°00′E / 14.9°S 130°E / -14.9; 130
Diameter304.5 km

Herschel is a 304 kilometer impact crater[1] in the Martian southern hemisphere, at 14.5°S, 130°E, located in the Mare Tyrrhenum region[2] of Mars. The crater is jointly named after the seventeenth/eighteenth century father and son astronomers William Herschel and John Herschel.[3]

Dark dunes in Hershel crater.

Moving Sand Dunes

Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft originally photographed fields of dark sand dunes within Herschel.[4][5] Images from the NASA Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter showed that sand dunes on the floor of the Herschel crater are not stationary (as previously believed), but moved over time. Images from photos taken by the Orbiter's High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) on March 3, 2007 and December 1, 2010 show clear shifting of dunes and ripples.[6] Research published in Icarus stated that the dunes in Hershel Crater moved 0.8 m in a time span of 3.7 Earth-years. Also, it was determined that dune ripple moved 1.1 m in that time period.[7]


  1. Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. "Herschel Impact Basin, Mars". 
  2. M. Cardinale, G. Komatsu, International Research School of Planetary Sciences. "Analysis of Diverse Dune Fields in Herschel Crater (Mars)from HiRISE Datasets". 
  3. "Herschel". Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature. USGS Astrogeology Research Program.
  4. NASA/JPL/University of Arizona. "Dark Dunes in Herschel Crater". 
  5. NASA/JPL/University of Arizona. "Dark Sand Dunes and Sand Sheet in Herschel Crater". 
  6. NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Ariz./JHUAPL. "Rippling Dune Front in Herschel Crater on Mars". 
  7. Cardinale, M., S. Silvestro, D. Vazd, T. Michaels, M. Bourke, G. Komatsu, L. Marinangeli. 2016. Present-day aeolian activity in Herschel Crater, Mars. Icarus: 265, 139-148.

See also