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New Names Approved for Venus

Monday, September 25, 2006

Names for seven coronae and one tholus have been approved by the IAU for use on Venus. The names are Anjea Corona, Durga Corona, Hutash Corona, Ikas Coronae, Orbona Corona, Partula Corona, Parvati Corona, and Ezili Tholus. Please see the Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature for more information.

Names Approved for 31 Craters on Mars

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The following names for 31 craters on Mars have been approved by the IAU: Ada, Alamos, Beruri, Bopolu, Cefalù, Chupadero, Dulovo, Elorza, Grindavik, Hargraves, Hashir, Iazu, Jörn, Kontum, Lismore, Makhambet, Martin, Mazamba, Nakusp, Ohara, Pebas, Runanga, Sefadu, Shardi, Soffen, Taytay, Uzer, Woking, Xainza, Yalgoo, and Zarand. For more information about these names, see the Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature.

New Names on Mars

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Five new names have been approved for Mars: Angustus Labyrinthus, Chronius Mons, Promethei Mons, Sisyphi Tholus, and Thyles Montes. The names Australis Patera, Angusta Patera, and Cavi Frigores have been marked as dropped in the database. New imagery has shown that the two paterae were named using the wrong descriptor term, and the area previously named Cavi Frigores has been incorporated into the adjacent Cavi Angusti.

The definition of the descriptor term labyrinthus has been expanded from "Complex of intersecting valleys" to "Complex of intersecting valleys or ridges."

See the Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature for more information.

2003 UB313 named Eris

Thursday, September 14, 2006

The International Astronomical Union has approved the name Eris for the largest known dwarf planet (see CBAT Circular 8747). Eris is the Greek goddess of chaos and strife; she created a quarrel among goddesses that led to the Trojan War. This name could be considered quite fitting for the body that has fueled the debate concerning how to define a planet. The name Eris was suggested by the discoverer, Michael Brown.

Eris’ satellite was named Dysnomia, for Eris’ daughter who carries the attribute of lawlessness.

No More Provisional Names!

Wednesday, September 6, 2006

There has been an important change in the approval process for planetary feature names; the designation of "provisional nomenclature" is no longer used. As soon as the IAU Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature (WGPSN) has successfully reviewed a name, it is considered approved and can be used in publications. Immediately after WGPSN approval, names are entered into the Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature. Any objections to these names based on significant, substantive problems must be forwarded in writing or email to the IAU Division III president within three months of the names being published in the gazetteer.

This new policy will allow for much more efficient use of planetary feature names for the scientific community, and it will streamline and simplify the use of planetary feature names in the publication process.