February 25, 2018

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What's in a Name?

Originally published September 23, 2008 LPOD-Sep23-08.jpg
image by Pete Lawrence; south up

The south polar region is the most dramatic place to observe on the Moon. There are always shadows nearby, highlighting deep craters and tall mountains. As I marveled at Pete's recent view I noticed the triple or quadruple crater cluster near the center front that includes Newton. It is amazing that such a towering figure of science and astronomy would have received such a hard to see crater. Was the name given by an angry rival or someone who disbelieved in universal gravitation or an ex-student who failed calculus? The way to tell is to check Newton in The Moon Wiki. The name was given by Schröter to a ghost crater south of Plato, but was moved by the great 19th century selenographer Mädler to its present polar wilderness. I am surpized that Schröter and Mädler couldn't find a better feature to memorialize perhaps the greatest scientist ever. Was it because he was English and they were German (there was a lot of rivalry then)? That seems too petty, but between them Schröter and Mädler gave hundreds of new names - surely they could have done better for Isaac Newton?

Chuck Wood

Technical Details
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Related Links
Rükl plate 73

Yesterday's LPOD: A Celestron Orange Moon

Tomorrow's LPOD: Edging Along the Limb


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