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The Once and Future Moon

How Are Places On The Moon Named?

31 Dec 2012, 15:09 UTC
How Are Places On The Moon Named?
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The Moon is remarkable for the variety and unusual nature of the names of its surface features. The dark, smooth maria are named for weather or states of mind (Sea of Rains, Sea of Tranquility) while many of the abundant craters of the Moon are named for famous scientists, philosophers, mathematicians and explorers. Before the [...]

Map of the Moon by Grimaldi and Riccioli, 1651. Most of the names on this map are still in use today.
The Moon is remarkable for the variety and unusual nature of the names of its surface features. The dark, smooth maria are named for weather or states of mind (Sea of Rains, Sea of Tranquility) while many of the abundant craters of the Moon are named for famous scientists, philosophers, mathematicians and explorers. Before the advent of the space age, only the near side of the Moon was visible from Earth, although most scientists believed that the far side probably looked exactly like the facing one. (How wrong they were!) Naturally, once we had the ability to see uncharted lunar territory, a new era of name assignment commenced. But even now, many lunar craters and features await something more than mere coordinates.
The ...

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