Hobbit writer Tolkien gets his own crater

NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington

Author J.R.R. Tolkien has received an honour that's out of this world.

The much revered creator of classic fantasy epics The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings now has a crater on the planet Mercury named after him.

Earlier this month, the International Astronomical Union approved names for nine craters on the planet closest to our sun. The Tolkien crater is about 48 km in diameter and is located near Mercury's north pole.

According to the IAU, the organization often names craters after "deceased artists, musicians, painters, and authors who have made outstanding or fundamental contributions to their field and have been recognized as art historically significant figures for more than 50 years."

The other recent honourees include Russian painter Wassily Kandinsky, Japanese historical novelist Eiji Yoshikawa and Spanish architect Antoni Gaudi.