October 16, 2004

Jump to: navigation, search

Lunar Names


Image Credit: Chuck Wood

Lunar Names

Lunar names have caused a vast amount of confusion every since the second Moon map was made by Hevelius, who didn't accept the nomenclature devised by the first mapper and namer, Van Langren. By 1935 the International Astronomical Union had agreed on a set of nomenclature that has been the basis for everything since. Taking advantage of this unaccustomed nomenclatural stability, in 1938 the Historical Section of the British Astronomical Association published a classic reference, Who's Who on the Moon. It contains a brief biographical description of each person honored with a lunar name. Little tidbits of 0bscure information are found in the 130 page booklet - for example what is the explanation of this sentence in the entry for Wargentin: "... in 1761, he saw another [lunar eclipse] of special interest, the Moon being totally invisible for half an hour in a totally clear sky." Was it simply a very dark eclipse or something more bizzare? In 1995 two college students published an updated version of Who's Who on the Moon, but I have not seen it. Is there another update in the works?

Chuck Wood

Technical Details:
The (R) after the dates means that the name was given by Riccioli. The bold letters and numbers at the end of each description is the guide to the feature's location on the included schematic Moon map.

Related Links:
Lunar Nomenclature - the Official List

Yesterday's LPOD: A Lumpy Mare

Tomorrow's LPOD: Rounding the Ellipses

Author & Editor:
Charles A. Wood



Register, Log in, and join in the comments.