Lists, defines and illustrates, for the first time, every named object in the sky
Provides detailed U.S. Geological Survey maps with the locations of all named features on planets and moons
Provides the English and American pronunciation for all of the names listed in this work
This combined gazetteer and atlas lists, defines and illustrates, for the first time, every named object in the sky within a single reference work for use by the general reader, writers and editors dealing with astronomical themes, and those astronomers concerned with any aspect of astronomical nomenclature.
The naming of celestial objects is a vast subject, as might befit the study of the largest object known to man—the Universe itself. All human culture, past and present, is represented here. Surface features of the explored planets and satellites are named not only after famous scientists, mathematicians, artists and writers, but also after gods, good and evil spirits, villages, towns, peoples and literary characters from the remote past to the present day.
In astronomical nomenclature all the human psyche is projected onto the sky and the surfaces of celestial bodies. While astronomers must perforce be clinical and disinterested in the pursuance of their research, the effort and imagination that the astronomical community has devoted in the past and continues to devote today to the naming of celestial bodies and the features observed on them offer abundant proof, if such were needed, of the fundamental humanity of the scientific enterprise.
The problems inherent in a nomenclature system so diverse and rooted in history, as is the case for astronomy, necessitate a detailed description of how nomenclature works today and how it was conducted in the past (since much present day nomenclature is handed down to us from past times). Such a description is provided in the extensive introduction to astronomical nomenclature. For the reader in a hurry but who is unfamiliar with the subject a brief user’s guide follows the introduction.