List of geological features on Charon

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Annotated map of Charon, with provisional names for features

The geological features of Charon, the largest moon of Pluto, are being mapped by scientists using data from the New Horizons spacecraft. The team has given provisional names to the most prominent.

As of April 2018, only some of the names have been officially recognized by the International Astronomical Union, which has agreed that names for features on Charon should come from the following:[1][2]

  • Destinations and milestones of fictional space and other exploration.
  • Fictional and mythological vessels of space and other exploration.
  • Fictional and mythological voyagers, travellers and explorers.
  • Authors and artists associated with space exploration, especially Pluto and the Kuiper Belt.

Some features discovered by the New Horizons mission have been given provisional names based on various science fiction and fantasy franchises, including Star Wars, Star Trek, Doctor Who, Alien, Firefly, and Macross.[3] These names remain unofficial until accepted by the IAU.

On 11 April 2018, the IAU announced that several of the feature names had been officially recognized.[4]

Terrae[edit]

A terra is an extensive landmass or highland, Charon's only highland region is named after a fictional destination.

Feature Named after Details Name approved
(Date · Ref)
Oz Terra[5] Land of Oz The setting for L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz children's novel

Maculae[edit]

A macula is a dark spot. Charonian maculae are being named after fictional destinations.

Feature Named after Details Name approved
(Date · Ref)
Gallifrey Macula Gallifrey Planet in the Doctor Who series
Mordor Macula Mordor Land in the Tolkien mythology

Plana[edit]

A planum is a plateau or an elevated plain, Charon's only planum is named after a fictional destination.

Feature Named after Details Name approved
(Date · Ref)
Vulcan Planum Vulcan Planet in the Star Trek series

Montes[edit]

A mons is a mountain. Montes on Charon are being named after authors and artists.

Feature Named after Details Name approved
(Date · Ref)
Butler Mons Octavia E. Butler science-fiction author 2018-04-11 · WGPSN
Clarke Montes Arthur C. Clarke science-fiction author 2018-04-11 · WGPSN
Kubrick Mons Stanley Kubrick film director 2018-04-11 · WGPSN

Chasmata[edit]

A chasma is a deep, elongated, steep-sided depression. Charonian chasmata are being named after vessels in fiction.

Feature Named after Details Name approved
(Date · Ref)
Argo Chasma Argo ship in the Greek myth of Jason and the Argonauts, as well as the spaceship in the English translation of the Space Battleship Yamato anime series 2018-04-11 · WGPSN
Caleuche Chasma Caleuche mythological ghost ship that travels the seas around the small island of Chiloé_Island, off the coast of Chile, collecting the dead, who then live aboard it forever 2018-04-11 · WGPSN
Macross Chasma SDF-1 Macross spaceship in the Macross anime series
Mandjet Chasma[6] Mandjet solar boat of the ancient Egyptian sun god Ra 2018-04-11 · WGPSN
Nostromo Chasma Nostromo spaceship in the Alien films
Serenity Chasma Serenity spaceship in the Firefly series
Tardis Chasma TARDIS spaceship/timeship in the Doctor Who series

Craters[edit]

Photo of Charon centered on Ripley Crater. Nostromo Chasma crosses Ripley vertically. Vader is the dark crater at 12:00, Organa Crater is at 9:00, Skywalker Crater at 8:00, Gallifrey Macula and Tardis Chasma at 4:00.

Craters on Charon are named after characters associated with science fiction and fantasy.

Feature Named after Details Name approved
(Date · Ref)
Alice Alice character in novels by Lewis Carroll
Dorothy[7] Dorothy Gale protagonist of the Oz novels by L. Frank Baum 2018-04-11 · WGPSN
Kaguya-Hime Kaguyahime princess of the Moon in Japanese folklore
Kirk James T. Kirk character in the Star Trek series
Organa Leia Organa character in the Star Wars films
Nasreddin Nasreddin Sufi traveller from folklore 2018-04-11 · WGPSN
Nemo Captain Nemo character in novels by Jules Verne 2018-04-11 · WGPSN
Pirx Pilot Pirx main character in short stories by Stanisław Lem 2018-04-11 · WGPSN
Revati Revati main character in the Hindu epic narrative Mahabharata 2018-04-11 · WGPSN
Ripley Ellen Ripley character in the Alien films
Sadko Sadko adventurer who traveled to the bottom of the sea in the medieval Russian epic Bylina 2018-04-11 · WGPSN
Skywalker Luke Skywalker character in the Star Wars films
Spock Spock character in the Star Trek series
Sulu Hikaru Sulu character in the Star Trek series
Uhura Nyota Uhura character in the Star Trek series
Vader Darth Vader character in the Star Wars films

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Naming of Astronomical Objects". www.iau.org. IAU General Assembly 2018. Retrieved 3 April 2018.
  2. ^ "Official Naming of Surface Features on Pluto and its Satellites". www.iau.org. IAU General Assembly 2018. Retrieved 3 April 2018.
  3. ^ Brown, Andrew R.; Byrd, Deborah. "First maps of Charon and Pluto". earthsky.org. EarthSky Communications Inc. Retrieved 3 April 2018.
  4. ^ "Pluto's Largest Moon, Charon, Gets Its First Official Feature Names". www.iau.org. IAU General Assembly 2018. Retrieved 11 April 2018.
  5. ^ Singer, Kelsi. "New Horizons: Peering into Pluto's Past". New Horizons. Lunar and Planetary Science Conference. Retrieved March 21, 2016.
  6. ^ Moore, Jeffrey M.; McKinnon, William B.; Spencer, John R.; Howard, Alan D.; Schenk, Paul M.; Beyer, Ross A.; Nimmo, Francis; Singer, Kelsi N.; Umurhan, Orkan M. (2016-03-18). "The geology of Pluto and Charon through the eyes of New Horizons". Science. 351 (6279): 1284–1293. arXiv:1604.05702. Bibcode:2016Sci...351.1284M. doi:10.1126/science.aad7055. ISSN 0036-8075. PMID 26989245.
  7. ^ Grundy, W. M.; et al. (2016). "Surface compositions across Pluto and Charon". Science. Science 351. 351 (6279): aad9189. arXiv:1604.05368. Bibcode:2016Sci...351.9189G. doi:10.1126/science.aad9189.