Group of Mercury Craters Named
Thursday, November 27, 2008
NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics
Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington
Astronomical Union (IAU) recently approved a proposal from the
MESSENGER Science Team to name 15 craters on Mercury. All of the
newly named craters were imaged during the mission’s first
flyby of the solar system’s innermost planet in January
The IAU has been the arbiter of planetary and
satellite nomenclature since its inception in 1919. In keeping
with the established naming theme for craters on Mercury, all of
the craters are named after famous deceased artists, musicians,
“We’re pleased that the IAU has
again acted promptly to approve this new set of names for
prominent craters on Mercury,” says MESSENGER Principal
Investigator Sean Solomon of the Carnegie Institution of
Washington. “These latest names honor a diverse suite of
some of the most accomplished contributors to mankind’s
higher aspirations. They also make it much easier for planetary
scientists to refer to major features on Mercury in talks and
The newly named craters include:
Amaral, after Tarsila do Amaral of Brazil, considered one of the
leading Latin American modernist artists.
after Salvador Dalí, a Spanish painter and leader of the
• Enwonwu, after sculptor and
painter Benedict Chukwukadibia Enwonwu, the most renowned
Nigerian artist of the 20th century.
• Glinka, after
Mikhail Glinka, a Russian composer considered to be the “father”
of genuinely Russian music.
• Hovnatanian, after Hakop
Hovnatanian, an Armenian painter known for his portraits.
Beckett, after Clarice Beckett, recognized as one of Australia's
most important modernist artists.
• Moody, after Ronald
Moody, a self-taught, Jamaica-born sculptor and painter who found
success in mid-20th-century London and Paris.
after Edvard Munch, a Norwegian Symbolist painter, printmaker,
and draftsman, perhaps most well-known for his painting The
• Navoi, after Alisher Navoi, a 15th century
Uzbek poet, considered by many to be the founder of early Turkic
• Nawahi, after Joseph Nawahi, a self-taught
artist, lawyer, educator, publisher, member of the Hawaiian
legislature for many years, and principal adviser to Hawaii’s
• Oskison, after John Milton
Oskison, a Cherokee author who served as editor and editorial
writer for the New York Evening Post.
• Poe, after Edgar
Allan Poe, American poet, critic, editor, and author. Best known
for his tales of mystery and the macabre.
• Qi Baishi,
after Qi Baishi, a renowned Chinese painter known for his
whimsical water colors.
• Raden Saleh, after Raden Saleh,
a 19th century Javanese naturalist painter considered to be the
first modern artist from what is now Indonesia.
Sher-Gil, after Amrita Sher-Gil, an eminent Indian painter, today
considered an important female painter of 20th-century
“It was quite enjoyable to consider candidate
names from among the world's most accomplished people in the arts
and humanities,” says MESSENGER Participating Scientist
Dave Blewett, of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics
Laboratory, in Laurel, Md. “It's also gratifying to have
the IAU approve names that have meaning to the team members. For
example, the crater Poe (named for Edgar Allan Poe) was a popular
choice, as he happens to be a local favorite because of his
“Having names for many of the
prominent craters will help us to remember and discuss specific
locations in this previously ‘undiscovered country,’”
Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory
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