Minor Feature

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Minor feature

(glossary entry)


An informal name for a special category of very small features that have been given official names in the IAU Nomenclature.
Some of them are not that small. Nearside crater Natasha' is the largest one (12 km), it is depicted on classic moonmaps such as Hallwags. The somewhat elongated depression Kathleen (at Palus Putredinis) is also an easy target for common telescopes, so is bowl-shaped crater Jehan (diameter 5 kilometer) near Natasha.

Alphabetic list of Minor Feature Names of the Apollo era (orbital lunar photography)

Agnes (mons), Akis, Alan, Aloha, Andre (mons), Ango, Ann, Annegrit, Ardeshir (mons), Artemis, Bawa, Bela, Boris (rupes), Brigitte (catena), Carlos, Carmen (rima), Carol, Chang-Ngo, Charles, Ching-Te, Christel (vallis), Cleopatra (rima), Courtney, Dag, Delia, Diana, Dieter (mons), Dilip (mons), Donna, Edith, Esam (mons), Ewen, Fairouz, Felix, Ganau (mons), Gaston, Grace, Harold, Ian, Ina, Isabel, Isis, Ivan, Jehan, Jerik, Jomo, Jose, Julienne, Karima, Kasper, Kathleen, Kira, Krishna (vallis), Linda, Louise, Manuel, Marcello (rima), Mary, Mavis, Melissa, Michael, Monira, Natasha, Osama, Osiris, Osman, Patricia, Pierre (catena), Priscilla, Ravi, Reiko (rima), Robert, Rocco, Romeo, Rosa, Rudolf (fossa/ rima), Ruth, Samir, Shahinaz, Siegfried (rima), Sita, Soraya, Stella, Sung-Mei (rima), Susan, Taizo, Thera (dorsum), Vera, Verne, Vladimir (rima), Walter, Wan-Yu (rima), Yoshi, Yuri (catena), Zahia (rima).

Of these, most of them are female names:
Agnes, Greek female name
Akis, Greek female name
Aloha, Hawaiian female name
Ann, Hebrew female name
Annegrit, German female name
Artemis, name of Greek moon goddess
Béla, Slavic female name
Brigitte, French female name
Carmen, Spanish female name
Carol, Latin female name
Chang-Ngo, Chinese female name
Christel, German female name
Cleopatra, Greek female name
Delia, Greek female name (member of Catena Davy)
Diana, Latin female name
Donna, Italian female name
Edith, English female name
Fairouz, Arab female name
Grace, English female name
Ina, Latin female name
Isabel, Spanish female name
Isis, name of Egyptian goddess
Jehan, Turkish female name (aka Euler K, easy to observe through common telescopes because it is a bowl-shaped crater, diameter 5 kilometer)
Julienne, French female name
Karima, Arabic female name
Kathleen, Irish female name (easy to observe through common telescopes!) (name not mentioned on Chart 22 of Rukl's moonatlas, strange)
Kira, Russian female name
Linda, Spanish female name
Louise, French female name
Mary, English form of Hebrew female name
Mavis, Scottish female name
Melissa, Greek female name
Monira, Arabic female name
Natasha, Russian female name (aka Euler P, Copeland's Tennis Racquet) (with its diameter of 12 kilometer this is the largest one of the Minor Features, very easy to observe through common telescopes!)
Patricia, English female name
Priscilla, Latin female name (member of Catena Davy)
Reiko, Japanese female name
Rosa, Spanish female name
Ruth, Hebrew female name (very easy to observe because Ruth's location is very near crater Krieger and the small bowl-shaped crater Rocco)
Shahinaz, Turkish female name
Sita, Indian female name
Soraya, Persian female name
Stella, Latin female name
Sung-Mei, Chinese female name
Susan, English female name (member of Catena Davy)
Thera, Greek female name
Vera, Latin female name
Wan-Yu, Chinese female name
Zahia, Arabic female name

Additional Information

During the preparation for NASA of the highly-detailed Apollo-imagery related maps known as the Topophotomap series, names were assigned to a number of extremely small features. The legends at the bottom of the maps say they were intended as “informal” names to be used only in describing that particular map. However, in 1976 most, but not all of these, were formally adopted into the official IAU Nomenclature. The IAU does not recognize these as a separate category of feature, and hence they are lumped together with much more significant features of the same type. This leads many newcomers to lunar nomenclature to wonder why these particular tiny features have names, while innumerable other larger features do not. The reason is that they happened to fall in one of the very few portions of the Moon covered by a Topophotomap.

A list of 95 features of this type can be found on page 175 of NASA RP-1097. One of these is a ‘Dorsa’, 3 are ‘Catena’, 7 are ‘Mons’, 10 are ‘Rima’, and the remainder are listed as ‘Craters’. This is not necessarily a complete list of Minor Features in the IAU Nomenclature, and some of the names in this list may have subsequently changed. For example, “Christel’ and ‘Krishna’ are now ‘Vallis Christel’ and ‘Vallis Krishna’.

Nomenclature of tiny craterlets near the landing sites of the Apollo project's 6 Lunar Modules (Apollo 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, and 17)

To these might be added the Apollo Landing Site Names which added an additional 79 very minor features to the IAU nomenclature. The Landing Site Names are a special category recognized by the IAU. The more numerous and more widely-scattered minor features described here are not.
- Jim Mosher

Luna 17 - Lunokhod 1

12 officially recognized names for craterlets near the landing site of Luna 17, south of Promontorium Heraclides (Luna 17 with its Lunokhod 1 rover):
Albert, Borya, Gena, Igor, Kostya, Leonid, Kolya, Nikolya, Slava, Valera, Vasya, Vitya.

Luna 24

1 officially recognized name for the craterlet near the landingsite of Luna 24, at the southern part of Mare Crisium:


3 officially recognized names for craterlets near the landing site of Chang'e-3, at Mare Imbrium:
Tai Wei, Tian Shi, Zi Wei

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