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Tolkien is one of the northernmost craters on Mercury, located in the Borealis quadrangle (north pole region) at 88.82 N, 211.08 W.[1] It is 50 km in diameter. It was named after the South African born British writer J. R. R. Tolkien. The name was approved by IAU's Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature on August 6, 2012.[1] Since Tolkien is very close to the north pole, and Mercury has almost no axial tilt, Tolkien receives very little sunlight.[2] Evidence from MESSENGER and Earth-based observations indicate that water ice deposits are present in these cold craters including Tolkien.[3]

Photo of the northernmost part of planet Mercury, this shows the temperatures at the North Polar Region, which ranges from >400 K (red) to 50 K (purple). Tolkien is on the left of the image.
Coordinates88°48′N 211°06′W / 88.8°N 211.1°W / 88.8; -211.1Coordinates: 88°48′N 211°06′W / 88.8°N 211.1°W / 88.8; -211.1
Diameter50 km
EponymJ. R. R. Tolkien

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "Tolkien (crater)". Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature. USGS Astrogeology Research Program., accessed 19 February 2019
  2. ^ "Permanently Shaded Polar Craters". NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington/National Astronomy and Ionosphere Center, Arecibo Observatory. 15 November 2012.
  3. ^ NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington (16 March 2015). "Hot and Cold".

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