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Hell (on the floor of Deslandres)

Lat: 32.4°S, Long: 7.8°W, Diam: 33 km, Depth: 2.2 km, Rükl: 64

external image normal_Hell_LO-IV-112H_LTVT.JPG
LO-IV_112_H3 As can be seen from the opposite sun angle LPOD photo, one of the small craters just outside the west rim of Hell seems to the source of a dusting of bright ejecta, not unlike the bright spot near Hell Q. This small crater is not named, but the irregular depression below it is. Its upper part (at about 9 o'clock from the center of Hell) is Hell W, and the lower part (at about 8 o'clock) is Hell V.


LPOD Photo Gallery Lunar Orbiter Images


(LAC zone 112A2) LAC map Geologic map


Hell is a transition crater, where the morphology changes with increasing impact energy (diameter) from a simple bowl, ultimately to a broad, flat-floored crater like Copernicus with central peaks and terraces. Unfortunately for Hell, its wall slumps were so extensive that the entire crater floor is filled with wall debris. - tychocrater Jun 24, 2007

Description: Elger

(IAU Directions) HELL.--A prominent ring-plain, about 18 miles in diameter, on the W. side of the great plain. There is a central mountain and many ridges within.

Description: Wikipedia


Additional Information

  • Depth data from Kurt Fisher database
    • Arthur, 1974: 2.2 km
    • Westfall, 2000: 2.2 km
    • Viscardy, 1985: 2.2 km
    • Cherrington, 1969: 2.01 km
  • Central peak height
  • LTVT measurements of the shadows in LO-IV-112H confirm the preceding depth estimates. The east rim appears to have a remarkably uniform height. The central peak is at least 750 m tall. - JimMosher
  • Trivia: a useful trick for locating this region of the Moon is to notice the resemblance of Deslandres, when viewed in a certain way, to the outline of a tropical fish swimming west. The craters Regiomontanus, Walther and Lexell serve as tails/fins, and Hell is then the fish's eye. - JimMosher

Impact site of Luna 5?

No, the region of Hell is not the impact site of Luna 5. Several not-so-recent spaceflight books and lunar atlases mentioned the coordinates 31° South/ 8° West (immediately north of Hell) as Luna 5's impact site. The real impact site of Luna 5 should be near crater Copernicus (8° North/ 23° West).
See also Wikipedia's Luna 5.


  • Named for Maximilian Hell (May 15, 1720 – April 14, 1792), an astronomer and an ordained Jesuit priest from the Kingdom of Hungary. Hell became the director of the Vienna Observatory in 1755. He published the astronomical tables Ephemerides astronomicae ad meridianum Vindobonemsem ("Ephemerides for the Meridian of Vienna"). He went to Vardø in the far north of Norway (then part of Denmark) to observe the 1769 transit of Venus. According to Whitaker (p. 93), several editions of Hell's Ephemerides included a small labeled map of the Moon which introduced 11 names that had not been used by previous lunar cartographers, and although later cartographers re-cycled a number of these names, most were used for different formations. Hell's map, which Whitaker calls "a poorish copy of the Riccioli map", is reproduced on p. 94 of Whitaker. Four of the names introduced by Johann Schröter were taken from Hell's list (Whitaker, p. 218). These include Rost, Sharpius (now Sharp) and Wolff (now Mons Wolff); but only Sharp appears to have been used at the same location.
    • Hell's nomenclature list, comparing the names of Riccioli (with his own additions) to those of Hevelius appears (but without the map?) starting on page 222 of the copy his book available from the Hathi Trust. The following twelve names have asterisks indicating they were added by Hell: Halleyius, Schmelzerus (S.J.), Flamsteedius, Volsius (S.J.), Scharpius, Scheinerus (S.J.), Rostius, Wolffius, Tacquetus (S.J.), Shottus (S.J.), Regnaultius (S.J.) and Malebranchius. Both the list and map seem to be absent from the Google Books' copy.

  • Although most of the names of Jesuit priests on the Moon were given by Riccioli, according to Whitaker (p. 218) Hell was added by Schröter. Elger (1893), who seems to have read Schröter's account carefully says the name was intended to refer to the entire plain north of Lexell (presently known as Deslandres). However, according the Neison, Mädler "resticted" it "with great advantage" to the much smaller crater that currently bears the name.
  • Hell (in Neison's sense) was part of the original IAU nomenclature of Blagg and Müller (1935). In that nomenclature, the 256-km region within which it lies (the "great plain" referred to by Elger -- and Schröter's original intent for the name) was left unnamed. Since Hell was the only named feature within it, this area (now known as Deslandres) was informally referred to as the Hell Plain.
  • Hell B (a crater in the northern part of the walled plain Deslandres) was called Schupmann by Fauth, but the I.A.U. did not accept that name.
  • The high-albedo spot in one of Tycho's rays, on the floor of Deslandres near what is nowadays the IAU's Hell Q, has often been called Cassini's Bright Spot

LPOD Articles

Hell Plain


Father Hell in the Sourcebook Project (William R. Corliss)

- In Mysterious Universe, a handbook of astronomical anomalies (1979) :
  • Page 137: The Satellite of Venus (T.W.Webb, Nature, 1876). Note: in those days of the 1800s lots of astronomers wanted to get a glimpse of the so-called satellite of Venus, which was called Neith by some. It is rather surprising to know that most of these observations (of Neith) were in fact misinterpretations of the ghost image of Venus itself, created by one of the internal reflections in the lenses of the telescope! - DannyCaes Apr 4, 2015