Early maps of Mercury

A summary of Mercury mapping, early drawings reprojected uniformly into Mollweide projection. The last map is based on photographic studies in 1942-1948.


(Note: This caption wronly identifies Venus as the mapped object. It is Mercury).


1942-1948 Dollfus, A
1889 Schiaparelli Astr. Nach. 1889 p 246
1897 Lowell Mem. Amer. o Arts and Sciences 1897 v. 12
Desloges, Jarry Observation des surfaces planétaires, v VII
1934 Antoniadi La planete Mercure, Gauther-Villars
1928 Rudaux L’Astronomie de 1928, p301
1928 Bidault de l’Isle L’Astronomie de 1928, p 301
1936 McEwen Journal de la British Astronomical Society 1936, v45, p582
Source: Dollfus, A. 1953 Observation visuelle et photographique des planètes Mercure et Vénus à l’Observatoire du Pic du Midi. L’Astronomie, Vol. 67, p.61



Pic du Midi drawings and map of Mercury

Upper row: 1942, Lyot – 25 drawings, 36 inch refractor, 300-500x magnification.

Lower row: 1950, A Dollfus, 60-inch refractor, 750-900x magnification


Lyot and Camichel, 1942:  Map from 12 composites. 23 markings were measured.

Source: A. Dollfus: Visual and photographic studies off planets at the Pic du Midi. In: Planets and Satellites, GP Kuiper and B Middlehurst, eds. Chicago Univ Press 543-571.



Lowell’s map of Mercury (1902)

Source: P. Lowell:  New observations of the planet Mercury. 

Cambridge, J. Wilson and son, 1902. In Memoirs of the American academy of arts and sciences, n.8., v.12, no.4

The book also includes tens of drawings of Mercury.

According to the author, the planet is “covered with long narrow markings best explained as the result of cooling”, and Mercury “is a world as dead as the Moon, but differently brought to that condition”. The map shows an elliptical view because Lowell thought that Mercury is “an ellipsoid”.