North American Atlas

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North American Aviation: Lunar Atlas (1964)

(glossary entry)


A classic pre-Apollo photographic atlas of the Moon compiled by Dinsmore Alter using plates from Mount Wilson and Lick Observatories (and one photo of the farside from Lunik III).

Additional Information

  • Contents
    • Introduction
    • Glossary
    • The Phases of the Moon
    • The Waxing and Waning Half-Moon with Grid Coordinates
    • Table of Lunar Features
    • Photographic Sections of the Lunar Disk
    • The Lunar Maria
    • Tycho and Copernicus -- Their Ray Systems and Related Phenomena
    • The Great Peninsula and Farther South
    • The "Old" Area of the Moon
    • The Region to the Left of Mare Frigoris
    • The Area of the Apennines"
    • Photographs Taken with the 120-inch Lick Reflector

  • From the Foreword: "The Space Sciences Laboratory, Space Division (formerly Space and Information Systems Division), North American Aviation, Inc., began preparation of this volume in the autumn of 1961. Originally published in 1964, it was designed to meet the increasing interest in the moon as one objective in the nation's space program. The Atlas was prepared under the direction of Dinsmore Alter, Director Emeritus of Griffith Observatory, Los Angeles, California."

  • Prepared shortly after the IAU made a number of changes in lunar nomenclature and mapping conventions (IAU Transactions XIB), Alter adopted some, but not all, of the proposed changes. For example, he thought it best to avoid use of the terms "east" and "west", and although he Latinized the names of the mountain ranges, Straight Wall remained, as did the old spelling of Mare Fecunditatis. He also included at least one name never approved by the IAU (Lyot for what is now called Ammonius), and thought it useful to introduce informal designations for several features he says were "prominent, but unnamed": "Cassini's Bright Spot", "Oval Rays" (on Mare Imbrium, south of Stadius), "Rectangle" and "Serpentine Ridge".

LPOD Articles


  • North American Aviation, Inc, and Dinsmore Alter. 1964. Lunar atlas. Los Angeles, Calif.: North American Aviation.
  • Republished by Dover Books in 1968.