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latitude, degrees  b

Hermite Crater


(86N; 89.9E); bounding (87N, 203-333 E; 83N, 246-292E)

03.31.2011 - It may look like an ordinary old crater, but to some scientists the 104 km diameter Hermite Crater is one of the most interesting features on the lunar surface. In 2009, the Diviner instrument revealed that an area within Hermite Crater is the coldest place ever measured in the Solar System, with a temperature of -249 degrees Celsius [1]. This cold temperature is due to the fact that regions within this crater, which is located near the Moon's north pole, never see sunlight. Data from LOLA have enabled scientists to model topographically-controlled lighting conditions near the lunar poles over long periods of time [2]. These model simulations reveal that on the scale of millions of years, regions (see arrows) near the southwestern portion of the crater remain in permanent shadow.

References:

  1. Paige, D. (2009). Diviner Observes Extreme Polar Temperatures. Diviner Lunar Radiometer Experiment website (http://bit.ly/fbYxFv). Accessed 01/11/11.
  2. Mazarico, E., LOLA Science Team (2010). Illumination of the Lunar Poles from Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA) Topographic Data. 41st LPSC, Abstract #1828.




Goddard Space Flight Center