Astrogeology Science Center

Geologists Tell All by Name

1 February 2018

Tenielle Gaither and Rosalyn Hayward are multi-talented geologists at the USGS Astrogeology Science Center who just released an informative and most interesting report on Planetary Nomenclature. Not only does the report capture the interworking of Planetary Nomenclature today, it reveals the dynamics of how names are approved, defines descriptor terms and themes, and delves into the raw history of how and why this process became imperative. These authors work daily on managing the Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature, and are experts with helping researchers navigate the IAU name-approving process. Permit yourself to be entertained, even possibly surprised, with what you can discover about Planetary Nomenclature.


Map of the Moon from G. B. Riccioli’s 1651 Almagestum Novum, showing some of the first lunar nomenclature. Some of these names, such as Mare Frigoris, Mare Serenitatis, and Mare Tranquilitatis, are still in use today.