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Lunar Nomenclature

History and Documents

The second person who made a map of the Moon used different names than the first person did. Since then there has been a constant struggle to devise and maintain lunar nomenclature systems that are consistent and unambiguous. We collect here many of the basic documents concerning the history of lunar nomenclature. Additionally, on each wiki page we attempt to provide information for each named feature.

IAU Planetary Gazetteer

IAU nomenclature

Major Maps and Books

Primary References Affecting IAU Nomenclature
1647: Hevelius
1651: Riccioli
1775: Tobias Mayer
1791, 1802: Schröter
1834: Beer and Mädler
1876: Neison
1878: Schmidt
1913: Collated List
1935: Blagg and Müller
1938: Who's Who in the Moon
1960-67: LAC maps
1962-6: System of Lunar Craters
1963: Rectified Lunar Atlas
1970s: LTO maps
1982: NASA RP-1097
1994: Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature
2006: USGS Digital Atlas

Other Influential Nomenclature Guides
1895: Elger
1955: Wilkins and Moore
1971: NASA SP-241
1971: Bowker and Hughes
1990 & 2004: Rükl
2004: Clementine Atlas

IAU Names Chronology

Excerpts from Transactions of the IAU

This is a major resource!

A Nomenclature Zoo

Statistics, trivia and odd specimens from the IAU Nomenclature

Nomenclature Lists

Names sorted by country, gender, religion, errors; unofficial and nicknames

Invalid NASA Names

Provisional names on NASA maps that were never adopted by the IAU

Landing Sites

Named features at the landing sites for Lunar missions.

IAU Name Origins

Who named the features, and who they intended to honor

LPOD Articles

Nomenclature Constellations
Nomenclature Zoo
One Crater's Nomenclature
A Newer New Map
Greek Letters
Musical Nomenclature
NOT the Source of Lunar Nomenclature
A Nomenclatural Screwup
History of an Eastern Name
Lunar Names

Small Spectacular
Mee Too!
A New/Old Catalog of Lunar Craters
Polar Classic
Who Named that Crater?
Mountains Near the South Pole
Where is Alhazen Alpha?
Ptolemaic Sunset
I Drew a Map so I Get to Add Names!
Restoring Bright Names


Whitaker, 1999: Mapping and Naming the Moon