Contact address | Imprint

Cartographica Helvetica


Klaus Bartels:

From the face of the Moon to its mapping

Cartographica Helvetica 5 (1992) 11–16


The author discusses the origins for naming lunar features. Two significant astronomers of the 17th century are mentioned in particular.

Johann Hevelius, born in Danzig, was one of the best observing astronomers of his time. In his most important publication, the 1647 Selenographia, he introduced the familiar terms 'ocean', 'gulf', 'sea', 'mountain', and others in naming various lunar features. The other astronomer, Giovanni Riccioli from Ferrara, adopted this system in his 1651 work Almagestum Novum. Oceans and seas carried the names of meteorological phenomena whereas craters were named after famous scientists. He worked systematically by dividing the visible surface of the moon into octants.

Since the end of the 1960s the far side of the moon has also been discovered and the old tradition of naming features is being continued by the International Astronomical Union.

Bibliographic note

  • Edited version of: Eine Göttin wird kartographiert – Die Geschichte unserer Mondkarte. In: Neue Zürcher Zeitung (28 June 1975).

© 1990–2022 Cartographica Helvetica (Imprint)

Logo Valid HTML 4.01 Logo Valid CSS