Map of Mercury

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    David Arditti

    After all this time this is the first ever posting in the Mercury section of this Forum.

    I am in difficulty here, and wonder if anyone can help. I am doing some research on Mercury, and what I want is an up-to date map, incorporating the Messenger results, covering the whole planet, with all the named features named on it, and a grid of latitude and longitude. Amazingly, there seems to be no such thing on the internet.

    It seems like the data set is ‘out there’, as WinJupos will produce a 3-D simulation of the planet’s surface, and will measure latitude and longitude, and SkySafari will also produce a simulation, with names, but no useful grid. But it’s hard to relate these to the global ‘maps’ of Mercury published by NASA on the Messenger website because of the lack of a grid on these. Also I cannot find a map with a comprehensive (pre and post Messenger) set of feature names on it. I’m seeing various things that are very hard to relate to one another because of the simple lack of a published map with a grid.

    Can anyone help?


    David Dunn
    David Arditti

    Thanks David, yes that is kind of helpful.

    It’s still a pity they haven’t done one Mercator projection (or similar) map for the whole planet. I have now worked out that their global mosics go from 180 deg to 180 deg longitude, not from zero to zero, which was confusing me for some time. It’s still a lot of work to relate these images together, as Mercury’s suface, like that of the Moon, looks completely different under different illumibation angles. Also they’ve made a problem by reproducing all these image really dark. You have to import them ito Photoshop and turn up the levels to see much.

    One of the things I’ve been trying to establish in my reasearch is if there is any valid relationship at all between telescopic maps and drawings and what is really there. Peter Grego in his 2008 Springer book on Mercury and Venus still holds that the traditional maps do represent things that can be seen repeatably by good observers. Patrick Moore, on the other hand, after Mariner 10 visited, always said that the visual maps had been ‘hopelssly wrong’. My examination of the Messenger data tends to side with him – there’s no relationship whatsoever.

    David Graham

    It’s a while ago now, but I did some pre-Messenger research for a two part paper that was published in the Journal in the 1990’s. I found that it was possible to correlate some of the albedo features seen through the telescope on Mercury with the images teturned from the Mariner mission to the planet. Bright spots seen at the eyepiece do agree with the more prominant rayed craters on the planet.

    Dominic Ford

    Have you tried dropping David Rothery a quick email? I’ve not corresponded with him personally, but I understand he’s very supportive of the BAA.

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