Astrogeology Science Center

Apollo 8 Astronaut Visits Flagstaff Science Center

12 October 2018

The Astrogeology Science Center had a special guest on September 19, 2018: William Alison Anders, the Lunar Module Pilot on Apollo 8, the first human mission to the Moon. Anders is additionally celebrated for capturing the iconic photograph “Earthrise,” the first color photograph of the Earth taken from lunar orbit. This image is widely credited with starting the environmental movement.

 The famous 'Earthrise' photo from Apollo 8 captured by Anders, annotation by the IAU. Image credit: NASA 

Anders was visiting Flagstaff for more than just a tour of Astrogeology: he was here to meet with the IAU Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature to hash out details regarding commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 8 mission. The IAU approved names for two craters on the Moon, both visible in the foreground of the famous Earthrise photograph taken by Anders on Christmas Eve, 1968.The craters are now named ‘Anders’ Earthrise’ and ‘8 Homeward’.

 The famous 'Earthrise' photo from Apollo 8 captured by Anders, annotation by the IAU. Image credit NASA/IAU.

The USGS Astrogeology Science Center maintains the Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature database and website. The nomenclature database managers, Tenielle Gaither and Rose Hayward, respond to requests from researchers for new names through the Gazetteer website and work with researchers to refine and create their name proposals. They also assist the members of the IAU Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature during the approval process.

Get more details about this exciting time for Anders at the International Astronomical website.

By Janet Richie