The Mercury crater named after Shilpacharya Zainul Abedin | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, April 09, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:39 AM, April 09, 2021

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The Mercury crater named after Shilpacharya Zainul Abedin

Shilpacharya Zainul Abedin is considered to be the founding father of Bangladeshi modern art.

In July 2009, a crater on the planet Mercury, was named 'Abedin', after him. It is 116 km in diameter. Photos of the crater were taken by the MESSENGER Spacecraft. MESSENGER was a NASA robotic space probe that orbited Mercury between 2011 and 2015, studying the planet's chemical composition, geology, and magnetic field.

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"I was informed about the crater for the first time in 2015, then I looked into it and found several news on this," shares Mainul Abedin, youngest son of Shilpacharya Zainul Abedin. "In 2017, I made several banners to promote this historic event and distributed the banners in different districts and institutions across the country."

"Young generation doesn't know about the Abedin crater and I think everyone should be informed about this," expresses Mainul Abedin. "Not just us, but the whole of Bangladesh is proud of how a crater in Mercury bears the name of Shilpacharya, commemorating his life's works."

The Abedin crater, with a center Latitude of 61.7° and a center Longitude of 349.3° E, is one of its kind, just like the maestro. The crater floor is covered with once-molten rock melted by the impact event that formed it. The shallow depression that lies amidst the central peaks of the crater, may be volcanic in origin. Color imaging shows that this depression is surrounded by reddish material, as seen at other sites of explosive volcanism across Mercury.

The Abedin crater exhibits a complex crater structure with a smooth floor, wall terraces, and a central peak complex. The chains of smaller craters surrounding Abedin are secondary craters formed by ejecta from the initial impact.

In 2009, The International Astronomical Union (IAU) approved a proposal from the MESSENGER Science Team to confer names on 16 impact craters on Mercury. All of the craters were discovered during the flyby in October 2008, which is also when MESSENGER snapped several images. The newly discovered craters were named after famous personalities.

"Exploring new landforms on Mercury is a special experience that should be shared by everyone on our planet," MESSENGER Principal Investigator Sean Solomon of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, had said to American media in 2009. "It is highly appropriate that the naming of such features similarly acknowledges the contributions that individuals from all cultures have made to mankind's advances."

The Abedin crater is a matter of pride for every Bangladeshi across the globe.


The author is a freelance journalist, and a night owl who likes binge-watching, reading, and writing. Write to her at

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