From The Moon
Jump to: navigation, search

WGPSN : IAU Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature

(glossary entry)


A committee appointed by the IAU which oversees the assignment of names to surface features on bodies in the solar system. The WGPSN was founded at the 1973 IAU meeting, with Peter Millman as its first president. Within the WGPSN there are Task Groups (TG) for the Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, the Outer Solar System and small primitive bodies (asteroids and comets). The WGPSN and its Task Groups hold occasional meetings (in recent years almost entirely by exchange of e-mails), and report their decisions at the triennial meetings of the IAU.

Additional Information

  • The WGPSN is a Working Group of Division III (Planetary Systems Sciences) of the IAU.
  • The WGPSN currently has 13 members. On of these, Charles Wood serves as Chairperson of the Task Group for Lunar Nomenclature which has six additional members.
  • Under current IAU rules, the WGPSN has authority to approve and add names to the IAU Planetary Gazetteer with or without the advice of the Task Group for Lunar Nomenclature. Such names can be removed within a three month period if objections are received by the Divison III chairperson. Formerly, WGPSN recommendations were considered provisional, and they were not officially "approved" until voted upon at one of triennial meetings of the IAU. See IAU nomenclature for additional details about how lunar names are approved.
  • The WGPSN should not be confused with the IAU Committee on Small Body Nomenclature which oversees the assignment of names to small objects in the solar system. The WGPSN is tasked with the quite different job of organizing, standardizing, and maintaining lists of names to be used for the many surface features recognizable in planetary imagery.

LPOD Articles