The big question... What's the purpose of the Moon-Wiki's overcrowded ABC of Named Lunar Formations?


The moon is the nearest one of the celestial bodies and also the most suitable one to observe through all sorts of telescopes.
The huge amount of official and unofficial names on the lunar surface is a normal phenomenon. Everything needs names. The LROC (Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera) is taking orbital photographs of the moon's surface in unprecedented detail, this means that some of the dedicated explorers of the moon are now compiling a totally new gazetteer of nomenclature for a variety of very unusual looking lunar surface formations (the recognized nomenclature from the IAU is too limited).
By the way,
I'm not very familiar with the bulk of nomenclature on planets such as Mars, but... I guess Mars has almost the same quantity of names as our moon's surface, thanks to ancient Mars observers such as Schiaparelli and Antoniadi, and also the recent robotic orbital explorers such as the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, or the Curiosity rover. Anyway, it's a great pastime to investigate the nomenclature of surface formations on our solar system's mysterious planets and their many moons! - DannyCaes DannyCaes Jun 11, 2017

The books and maps that started the exploration of the moon's surface nomenclature

  • HALLWAG moonmap (Hans Schwarzenbach).
  • Antonin Rukl's MOON, MARS, and VENUS (Hamlyn - 1980), ATLAS OF THE MOON (Hamlyn - 1991).
  • THE TIMES ATLAS OF THE MOON (1969).
  • NAMED LUNAR FORMATIONS (Mary A. Blagg).
  • Ewen A. Whitaker's MAPPING AND NAMING THE MOON - A HISTORY OF LUNAR CARTOGRAPHY AND NOMENCLATURE (Cambridge University Press - 1999).
  • Ben Bussey's and Paul Spudis's THE CLEMENTINE ATLAS OF THE MOON (Cambridge University Press - 2004 / 2012).
  • And of course many online sources, of which the most important of all is Charles A. Wood's and Jim Mosher's THE MOON WIKI project (Wikispaces), and in the recent past also the ACT-REACT QUICK MAP of the LUNAR RECONNAISSANCE ORBITER CAMERA (LROC) project (note: since mid october 2017 things went wrong in the "new" Quickmap; the nomenclature-overlay does indeed show the IAU's names, but... the moon itself is gone, there's only blackness).

Sources of Named Lunar Formations, mentioned in Ewen A. Whitaker's MAPPING AND NAMING THE MOON

  • (additions to the NASA Catalogue of Lunar Nomenclature - RP 1097) (37 names).
  • Allard (only one name: Cassini).
  • Antoniadi (only one name: Deslandres).
  • Arthur, with Whitaker (Rectified Lunar Atlas, RLA - 1963) (50 names).
  • Birt (83 names, 19 of them disallowed or discontinued).
  • Blagg (only one name: Montes Spitzbergen).
  • Debes (only one name: Montes Jura).
  • Fauth (13 names, 6 of them disallowed or discontinued).
  • Franz (16 names, 5 of them disallowed or discontinued).
  • Gaudibert (7 names).
  • Gruithuisen (only one name: Schroter).
  • Hewelcke (aka Hevelius) (276 disallowed or discontinued names) (only four of Hewelcke's names are still anchored to their original locations: Promontorium Agarum, Montes Alpes, Montes Apenninus, and Promontorium Archerusia) (six of Hewelcke's names are moved to different locations: Carpates, Caucasus, Haemus, Riphaei, Taurus, and Taenarium).
  • IAU Commission 17 (only two names: Brown and Proctor).
  • Klein (only one name: Hyginus Nova) (disallowed).
  • Krieger (with Konig) (70 names, 27 of them disallowed or discontinued) (Konig introduced the name Krieger, not mentioned in Whitaker's).
  • Kuiper (only one officially recognized name: Mare Cognitum).
  • Lamech (44 names, 31 of them disallowed or discontinued).
  • Lecouturier (only one name? Le Verrier).
  • Lee (8 names).
  • Lohrmann (10 names).
  • Maedler (137 names, 2 of them disallowed or discontinued: Hercynii Montes and Oriani).
  • Muller (7 names).
  • Neison (14 names).
  • Peucker (only one name: da Vinci).
  • Pickering (only one name: Vallis Schroteri).
  • Riccioli (most of the names of large craters on the moon's near side are from Riccioli).
  • Schmidt (77 names, 7 of them disallowed or discontinued).
  • Schroter (80 names, 12 of them disallowed or discontinued).
  • Steavenson (only one name: Cobra Head) (the "source" of the snake-shaped Vallis Schroteri).
  • Van Langren (aka Langrenus) (Van Langren's Endymion, Langrenus, and Pythagoras are the only three of his many crater names which remained at their original locations throughout the history of selenography).
  • Webb (only one name: Mons Argaeus).
  • Wilkins, with Paluzie, Moore, Mee, McDonald, Arthur, Cameron, Hoag, Adams, and Nicholson (100 names, most of them disallowed or discontinued).

(see also the page Several short lists of lunar nomenclature, by a variety of selenographers).

Sources not mentioned in MAPPING AND NAMING THE MOON

(Mr. Whitaker's book would have looked like a huge cube-shaped pile of paper if he included EVERY ONE of the names given to all possible lunar surface formations on both the moon's near and far sides) (indeed, this could have been a very interesting pile of paper, but... an impossible project...).
  • Rand Mc Nally (there are several obscure and unofficial names on that moonmap, and also on the same map in Patrick Moore's Atlas of the Universe).
  • NASA / APOLLO-era (many named and nicknamed small craterlets at and near the 6 Apollo landing sites and names or nicknames at the equatorial Apollo 8, Apollo 10 and Apollo 11 regions).
  • LTO (Lunar Topographic Orthophotomaps). Many disallowed artistic names on the moon's near and far side. Whitaker's book included only two examples of these artistic LTO-names: Fossa Tetrazzini and Rima Mozart (page 183).
  • Lunar Topophotomaps (additional names for very small formations, all photographed from orbit during the scientific J-missions in NASA's Apollo program).
  • Sternberg (many disallowed Russian names, most of them on the moon's far side).
  • Luna / Lunokhod (named craterlets and other named or nicknamed formations near the sites of Luna 17 (Lunokhod 1) and Luna 21 (Lunokhod 2)).
  • Luna 24 (only one named craterlet: Lev).
  • Chang'e 3 (several named craterlets at Chang'e 3's landingsite).
  • Several nicknames from dedicated amateur moon observers and selenographers.
  • Luna Society International (LSI). Examples: John Lennon Peace Crater and Nelson Mandela International Peace Crater (both are unofficial names).
  • Geoffrey Hugh Lindop and his odd system of lunar nomenclature. Examples: Rabakuw (Bianchini W) and Rafelon (Plato F).
  • And... much more names from other (very mysterious) sources...

Let's explore the moon's multi-named surface!

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Danny Caes
Ghent - East Flanders
- DannyCaes DannyCaes May 20, 2017