IAU Transactions XXVIB

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(the following is excerpted from the book published by Cambridge University Press in 2008)


Edited by
General Secretary of the Union

(from p. 120-121:)



CHAIR Kaare Aksnes
MEMBERS J. Ellen Blue, Juergen Blunck, George A. Burba,

  • Guy J. Consolmagno, Mikhail Ya. Marov,
  • Brian G. Marsden, Tobias C. Owen,
  • Mark S. Robinson, Rita M. Schulz,
  • Bradford A. Smith, Iwan P. Williams


1. Introduction

The meeting was attended by six from the WG (K. Aksnes, J. Blunck, G. Consolmagno, B. Marsden, R. Schulz, V. Shevchenko) and two from the Task Groups (D. Morrison, J. Watanabe). Also the incoming WG members E. Bowell and R. Courtin, as well as some guests, attended.

The first session was devoted to a review of the nomenclature for which approval was sought from the IAU through Division III. A total of 252 names have in the triennium been approved by the WG: 228 surface features have been named on Venus (33), Moon (8), Mars (83), Itokawa (3), Io (16), Europa (11), Ganymede (3), Callisto (2), Titan (45) and Phoebe (24), and 24 satellites of Jupiter (10), Saturn (5), Uranus (6), Neptune (1) and Pluto (2) have received names. These 252 names and their attributes are listed at the end of this report. The names and some new name categories and descriptor terms are also listed on the website <http://planetarynames.wr.usgs.gov/>.

In the second session, new terms of reference (see below) for the WG were discussed and agreed upon, in consultation with the president of DivisionIII. The most important change is that names approved by the WG-PSN no longer need to be labeled ‘provisional’. New names will immediately upon approval by the WG be displayed on the mentioned website. Any objections to the names must be forwarded in writing or by e-mail to the DivisionIII which will rule on the objections.

Finally, changes in the membership of the WG were agreed on. Rita Schulz becomes the new WG-PSN chairperson, switching place with Kaare Aksnes on the WG. The new Division III president, Edward Bowell, the new Commission 16 president, Regis Courtin, and the new chairperson of the Outer Solar System Task Group, Rosaly Lopes, replace, respectively, Iwan Williams, Guy Consolmagno and Tobias Owen on the WG. The new membership is listed below.

2. Terms of Reference

In consultation with Division III, the following new terms of reference have been agreed on
for the WG:

1. The IAU Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature (WG-PSN) is appointed by IAU Division III under similar procedures as Divisional Working Groups (IAU Working Rules 38). It reports to the General Assembly through the president of Division III. For necessary meetings, the Working Group is eligible for travel support from the IAU.

2. The membership of the Working Group includes:

  • a. A chairperson of the WG-PSN and a minimum of eight other members of IAU Division III, including all the chairpersons of the Task Groups (see g), representing a diversity of geographical and cultural backgrounds.
  • b. The president of Division III. The president may delegate the divisional representation to another Division member.
  • c. The president of IAU Commission 16 on Physical Study of Planets and Satellites or his/her representative.
  • d. The chairperson of the IAU Committee on Small Body Nomenclature, or his/her representative.
  • e. Additional members up to a maximum of 15, including a maximum of three consultants who possess special expertise but are not IAU members.
  • f. A member may be in more than one of the above categories.
  • g. The Working Group may appoint Task Groups of up to eight members, including a chairperson, to assist in the nomenclature work for the various celestial bodies, as the need arises.

3. Appointment and terms of service:

  • The members, including the chairperson, will be appointed for three years at each General Assembly by Division III, upon the advice of the outgoing Working Group. The Working Group may appoint or dismiss Task Group members at any time. Continuity in the work is important, so Working Group and Task Group members are encouraged to serve through several triennia.

4. Names and guidelines:

  • a. The Working Group will develop, maintain, and publish guidelines for naming natural satellites of planets and surface features on all the solar sytem [sic] bodies, based on the established guidelines. Significant changes in the guidelines should be submitted by the Working Group to Division III for discussion and approval before being put into effect. Minor changes may be approved by the Division III president.
  • b. The Working Group will periodically approve lists of new nomenclature, with accompanying explanatory notes. The names will be made available immediately on approval in an official website for public review. Any objections to these names based on significant, substantive problems must be forwarded in writing or e-mail to the Division III president within three months of the placing of these names on the website. Valid objections do not include personal references of the discoverers or the individuals. Division III will rule on objections.
  • c. Three months before each General Assembly, the Working Group will submit to the IAU General Secretary, through Division III, a list of all names approved in the immediately preceding three calendar years. The names will be published or referenced in the Proceedings of the General Assembly.

3. WG members 2006-2009

R. M. Schulz (chair, the Netherlands). Members: K. Aksnes (Norway), J. Blue (USA),
J. Blunck (Germany), E. Bowell (USA), G. A. Burba (Russia), R. Courtin (France), R. M. Lopes
(USA), M. Ya. Marov (Russia), B. G. Marsden (USA), M. Robinson (USA), V. V. Shevchenko
(Russia), and B. A. Smith (USA).

4. New nomenclature


(from p. 122)


Chawla 42.8S 147.5W 15.0 Kalpana; American astronaut, Space Shuttle Columbia
Mission Specialist (1961-2003).

D. Brown 42.0S 147.2W 15.0 David McDowell; American astronaut, Space Shuttle
Columbia Mission Specialist (1956-2003).

Husband 40.8S 147.9W 29.0 Rick Douglas; American astronaut, Space Shuttle Columbia
Commander (1957-2003).

L. Clark 43.7S 147.7W 16.0 Laurel Blair Salton; American astronaut, Space Shuttle
Columbia Mission Specialist (1961-2003).

M. Anderson 41.6S 149.0W 17.0 Michael Phillip; American astronaut, Space Shuttle
Columbia Payload Commander (1959-2003).

McCool 41.7S 146.3W 21.0 William Cameron; American astronaut, Space Shuttle
Columbia Pilot (1961-2003).

Ramon 41.6S 148.1W 17.0 Ilan; Israeli astronaut, Space Shuttle Columbia Payload
Specialist (1954-2003).

Ryder 44.5S 143.2E 17.0 Graham; United Kingdom-born, American geologist (1949-2002).


(from p. 127)

K. Aksnes
chair of the Working Group