List of geological features on Pluto

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A map of Pluto showing the names officially approved by the IAU as of 8 August 2019.[1]

This is a list of named geological features on Pluto, identified by scientists working with data from the New Horizons spacecraft. The International Astronomical Union (IAU) officially approved the first 14 names on 8 August 2017 (announced 7 September 2017),[2] with additional names following in 2018 and 2019,[1] but most of the names listed on this page are still informal.[3] The IAU has determined that names will be chosen from the following themes:[4][5]

  • Names for the underworld from the world's mythologies
  • Gods, goddesses, and dwarfs associated with the underworld
  • Heroes and other explorers of the underworld
  • Writers associated with Pluto and the Kuiper belt
  • Pioneering space missions and spacecraft
  • Scientists and engineers associated with Pluto and the Kuiper belt

Cavi[edit]

A cavus is a hollow or steep-sided depression. The following is a list of unofficial names chosen by the New Horizons team.[4][6] Names that have been officially approved are labeled as such.

Feature Named after Name approved
(Date · Ref)
Adlivun Cavus Underworld in Inuit myths 2017-08-08 · WGPSN
Baralku Cavi Baralku, the island of the dead in Yolngu culture
Hekla Cavus An Icelandic volcano believed to be the entrance to Hell in medieval European times 2018-05-30 · WGPSN
Quidlivun Cavus The land on the Moon where the souls of the dead find rest in Inuit mythology

Colles[edit]

A collis is a low hill. Plutonian colles are being named after spacecraft that operated in Earth orbit. The following is a list of unofficial names chosen by the New Horizons team.[4] Names that have been officially approved are labeled as such.

Feature Named after Name approved
(Date · Ref)
Astrid Colles The Astrid program, Sweden's first satellites
Challenger Colles Honors the loss of the Space Shuttle Challenger
Coleta de Dados Colles Satélite de Coleta de Dados, first Brazilian satellite
Columbia Colles Honors the loss of the Space Shuttle Columbia
Soyuz Colles The Soyuz program; honors the loss of Soyuz 11

Craters[edit]

Plutonian craters are being named after scientists and other people associated with the study of Pluto. The following is a list of unofficial names chosen by the New Horizons team.[4] Names that have been officially approved are labeled as such.

Feature Named after Name approved
(Date · Ref)
Brinton Henry Brinton, NASA administrator instrumental in Pluto studies
Burney Venetia Burney, who proposed the name of Pluto 2017-08-08 · WGPSN
Coradini Angioletta Coradini, Italian astronomer
Coughlin Thomas Boyd Coughlin, American mechanical and space engineer, first project manager of the New Horizons mission 2020-01-03 · WGPSN
Drake Michael Julian Drake, British-American astronomer who chaired the committee that approved the New Horizons mission
Elliot James L. Elliot, discoverer of Pluto's atmosphere 2017-08-08 · WGPSN
Farinella Paolo Farinella, Italian astronomer
Giclas Henry L. Giclas, an astronomer at Lowell Observatory
Guest John Guest, British volcanologist and planetary scientist
H. Smith Harlan Smith, astronomer and director of McDonald Observatory
Hardie Robert H. Hardie, American astronomer, co-discoverer of Pluto’s 6.4-day rotation period 2020-01-03 · WGPSN
Harrington Robert Sutton Harrington, co-discoverer of Charon
Hollis Andrew Hollis, British astronomer
K. Edgeworth Kenneth Edgeworth, Irish astronomer who posited the Kuiper Belt
Khare Bishun Khare, Indian-American chemist specialized in planetary atmospheres, studied tholins extensively 2019-05-30 · WGPSN
Kiladze Rolan Il'ich Kiladze, Georgian astronomer who investigated the dynamics, astrometry, and photometry of Pluto 2019-05-30 · WGPSN
Kowal Charles T. Kowal, American astronomer who discovered the first centaur
Oort Jan Oort, Dutch astronomer who posited the Oort Cloud
Pulfrich Carl Pulfrich, German physicist who developed the blink-comparator used to discover Pluto
Safronov Viktor Safronov, Russian astronomer
Simonelli Damon Simonelli, American astronomer and Pluto geologist 2019-05-30 · WGPSN

Dorsa[edit]

A dorsum is a ridge. Plutonian dorsa are being named after underworlds in mythology. The following is a list of unofficial names chosen by the New Horizons team.[4] Names that have been officially approved are labeled as such.

Feature Named after Name approved
(Date · Ref)
Pandemonium Dorsa Pandæmonium, the capital of Hell in the poems of John Milton
Tartarus Dorsa Tartarus, the pit of hell in Greek mythology 2017-08-08 · WGPSN

Fluctūs[edit]

A Fluctus is a terrain covered by outflow of liquid. Plutonian fluctūs are being named after travellers to the underworld. The following is a list of unofficial names chosen by the New Horizons team.[4] Names that have been officially approved are labeled as such.[6]

Feature Named after Name approved
(Date · Ref)
Dionysus Fluctus The god Dionysus from Greek mythology, who travels to Hades (the underworld) to bring the playwright Euripides back
Mpobe Fluctus Mpobe from Baganda mythology, a hero who willingly enters the underground world
Pere Porter Fluctus Pere Porter is the character of a 16th-17th century moral novel who travels to hell
Xanthias Fluctus Xanthias from Greek mythology, the slave who joins Dionysus on his travel to the underworld

Fossae[edit]

A fossa is a ditch-like feature. Plutonian fossae are being named after figures associated with underworld myths. The following is a list of unofficial names chosen by the New Horizons team.[4] Names that have been officially approved are labeled as such.

Feature Named after Name approved
(Date · Ref)
Beatrice Fossa Beatrice Portinari, Purgatory to Heaven in The Divine Comedy
Djanggawul Fossae Djanggawul, Yolngu creation figures from the Island of the Dead 2017-08-08 · WGPSN
Dumuzi Fossa Dumuzid, legendary Sumerian king who replaced his wife Inanna in the underworld
Hermod Fossae Hermod, son of Odin, who rode the horse Sleipnir into the underworld to retrieve his brother Balder 2019-09-25 · WGPSN
Inanna Fossa Inanna, Sumerian goddess who descended to the underworld
Kaknú Fossa Kaknú, legendary Ohlone hero who resembled a peregrine falcon, who travelled to the underworld to battle Wiwe 2019-08-13 · WGPSN
Mwindo Fossae Mwindo, legendary Nyanga hero who travelled to the underworld 2019-05-30 · WGPSN
Sleipnir Fossa Sleipnir, the steed Odin rides to the underworld 2017-08-08 · WGPSN
Sun Wukong Fossa Sun Wukong, the Chinese Monkey King who went to Hell
Uncama Fossa Uncama, Zulu tale hero who followed a porcupine underground and came upon the village of dead souls 2020-01-03 · WGPSN
Virgil Fossae Virgil, as Dante's guide through Hell and Purgatory in The Divine Comedy 2017-08-08 · WGPSN

Lacūs[edit]

A lacus is a "lake" or small plain. The following is a list of unofficial names chosen by the New Horizons team.[4][6] Names that have been officially approved are labeled as such.

Feature Named after Name approved
(Date · Ref)
Alcyonia Lacus Lerna, also known as the Alcyonian Lake, was an entry to the netherworld in Greek mythology. 2019-05-30 · WGPSN

Lineae[edit]

A linea is an elongated marking. Plutonian lineae are being named after space probes. The following is a list of unofficial names chosen by the New Horizons team.[4] Names that have been officially approved are labeled as such.

Feature Named after Name approved
(Date · Ref)
Chandrayaan Linea the Chandrayaan program, India's first lunar probes
Luna Linea the Luna program, the first spacecraft to visit the Moon
Yutu Linea Yutu, the first Chinese lunar rover

Maculae[edit]

A macula is a dark spot. Plutonian maculae are being named after underworld creatures from fiction and mythology. The following is a list of unofficial names chosen by the New Horizons team.[4] Names that have been officially approved are labeled as such.

Feature Named after Name approved
(Date · Ref)
Ala Macula Ala, an Igbo god of the underworld
Balrog Macula balrog, an underground demon in the writings of J.R.R. Tolkien
Cadejo Macula cadejo, from Central American folklore
Cthulhu Macula[7] Cthulhu, an ancient deity in the writings of H.P. Lovecraft
Hun-Came Macula One of the two leading Maya death gods from the Popol Vuh
Krun Macula Krun, the Mandaean overlord of the underworld
Meng-p'o Macula Meng Po, the Chinese goddess of forgetfulness after death
Morgoth Macula Morgoth, a figure of evil in the writings of J.R.R. Tolkien
Vucub-Came Macula One of the two leading Maya death gods from the Popol Vuh

Montes[edit]

A mons is a mountain. Plutonian montes (mountain ranges) are being named after explorers and adventurers. The following is a list of unofficial names chosen by the New Horizons team.[4] Names that have been officially approved are labeled as such.

Feature Named after Name approved
(Date · Ref)
Al-Idrisi Montes Muhammad al-Idrisi, medieval Almoravid explorer 2017-08-08 · WGPSN
Baret Montesa Jeanne Baret, first woman to have completed circumnavigation voyage of the globe 2018-04-26 · WGPSN
Elcano Montes Juan Sebastián Elcano, completed Magellan's circumnavigation after his death 2019-05-30 · WGPSN
Hillary Montes Edmund Hillary, first to scale Mount Everest (with Tenzing Norgay) 2017-08-08 · WGPSN
Piccard Mons Auguste Piccard, conducted measurements of the upper atmosphere using balloons to reach an altitude of 23 kilometers 2019-05-30 · WGPSN
Pigafetta Montes Antonio Pigafetta, participated in Magellan's circumnavigation and wrote its only first-hand record 2019-05-30 · WGPSN
Tabei Montes Junko Tabei, first woman to climb both Mount Everest and the Seven Summits 2019-11-19 · WGPSN
Tenzing Montesb Tenzing Norgay, first to scale Mount Everest (with Edmund Hillary) 2017-08-08 · WGPSN
Wright Mons Wilbur and Orville Wright, built and flew the first successful airplane 2019-05-30 · WGPSN
Zheng He Montes Zheng He, medieval Chinese explorer
a.^ Formerly Baré Montes
b.^ Formerly Norgay Montes

Paludes[edit]

A palus (literally "swamp") is a small plain. Paludes on Pluto are named after historic explorers. The following is a list of unofficial names chosen by the New Horizons team.[4][6] Names that have been officially approved are labeled as such.

Feature Named after Name approved
(Date · Ref)
David-Néel Palus Alexandra David-Néel, Belgian–French explorer, best known for her 1924 visit to Lhasa, Tibet
Hyecho Palus Hyecho, Korean traveler and scholar, crossed Asia from China to Arabia and back in 724-727 2020-01-02 · WGPSN
Tinné Paludes Alexandrine Tinné, Dutch explorer in Africa, the first European woman to attempt to cross the Sahara

Plana[edit]

A planum is a plateau or high plain. One (Sputnik Planum) was initially identified on Pluto; but it has since been recognized to be a planitia.

Planitiae[edit]

A planitia is a low plain, distinct from plana as they are located on lower terrain. The following is a list of unofficial names chosen by the New Horizons team.[4] Names that have been officially approved are labeled as such.

Feature Named after Name approved
(Date · Ref)
Bird Planitia [8] Isabella Bird, nineteenth-century English explorer[9]
Sputnik Planitia [10] Sputnik 1, the first satellite to orbit the Earth 2017-08-08 · WGPSN

Regiones[edit]

A regio is a region geographically distinct from its surroundings. Plutonian regiones are being named after underworld spirits in fiction and mythology, or after scientists associated with the study of Pluto. The following is a list of unofficial names chosen by the New Horizons team.[4] Names that have been officially approved are labeled as such. One such feature, the former Cthulhu Regio, is now considered to be a macula.[11][7]

Feature Named after Name approved
(Date · Ref)
Lowell Regio Percival Lowell, whose ideas about Planet X inadvertently led to Pluto's discovery 2019-05-30 · WGPSN
Tombaugh Regio Clyde Tombaugh, discoverer of Pluto 2017-08-08 · WGPSN

Rupēs[edit]

A rupes is an escarpment. Plutonian rupēs are being named after explorers. The following is a list of unofficial names chosen by the New Horizons team.[4] Names that have been officially approved are labeled as such.

Feature Named after Name approved
(Date · Ref)
Cousteau Rupes Jacques Cousteau, undersea explorer
Eriksson Rupes Leif Erikson, first Norse explorer of America
Piri Rupes Piri Reis, creator of the one of the first map of the New World[10] 2019-05-30 · WGPSN

Terrae[edit]

A terra is an extensive landmass. Plutonian terrae are being named after space probes. The following is a list of unofficial names chosen by the New Horizons team.[4] Names that have been officially approved are labeled as such.

Feature Named after Name approved
(Date · Ref)
Hayabusa Terra Hayabusa, the first spacecraft to return a sample of an asteroid 2017-08-08 · WGPSN
Pioneer Terra the Pioneer program, the first spacecraft to explore the outer Solar System
Vega Terra the Vega program, which dropped probes onto Venus' surface along with the first close flybys to Comet Halley[10] 2019-05-30 · WGPSN
Venera Terra the Venera program, first landers on Venus 2019-05-30 · WGPSN
Viking Terra the Viking program, landers on Mars
Voyager Terra the Voyager program, the first probes to Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and interstellar space 2017-08-08 · WGPSN

Valles[edit]

A vallis is a valley. Plutonian valles are named after historic explorers. The following is a list of unofficial names chosen by the New Horizons team.[4][6] Names that have been officially approved are labeled as such.

Feature Named after Name approved
(Date · Ref)
Heyerdahl Vallis Thor Heyerdahl, Norwegian adventurer and ethnographer
Hunahpu Valles Hunahpu, one of the mythological Maya Hero Twins 2019-05-30 · WGPSN
Kupe Vallis Kupe, legendary discoverer of New Zealand

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b International Astronomical Union Approves Second Set of Pluto Feature Names, NASA, 8 August 2019
  2. ^ "Pluto Features Given First Official Names". NASA. 2017-09-07.
  3. ^ "Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature". International Astronomical Union (IAU) Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature (WGPSN). Retrieved 12 August 2018.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q "Global Mosaics of Pluto and Charon (unofficially named features)". APL – New Horizons. Retrieved 13 August 2017.
  5. ^ "Naming of Astronomical Objects". IAU – International Astronomical Unition. Retrieved 13 August 2017.
  6. ^ a b c d e Oliver L. White, Jeffrey M. Moore, William B. McKinnon, John R. Spencer, Alan D. Howard, Paul M. Schenk, Ross A. Beyer, Francis Nimmo, Kelsi N. Singer, Orkan M. Umurhan, S. Alan Stern, Kimberly Ennico, Cathy B. Olkin, Harold A. Weaver, Leslie A. Young, Andrew F. Cheng, Tanguy Bertrand, Richard P. Binzel, Alissa M. Earle, Will M. Grundy, Tod R. Lauer, Silvia Protopapa, Stuart J. Robbins, Bernard Schmitt, the New Horizons Science Team (2017). "Geological mapping of Sputnik Planitia on Pluto" (PDF). Icarus. 287: 261–286. Bibcode:2017Icar..287..261W. doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2017.01.011. Retrieved 6 January 2017.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  7. ^ a b Stern, S. A.; Grundy, W.; McKinnon, W. B.; Weaver, H. A.; Young, L. A. (2018). "The Pluto System After New Horizons". Annual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics. 56: 357–392. arXiv:1712.05669. Bibcode:2018ARA&A..56..357S. doi:10.1146/annurev-astro-081817-051935.
  8. ^ https://www.hou.usra.edu/meetings/lpsc2016/pdf/2284.pdf
  9. ^ "Public campaign to name the surface features on Pluto and Charon". SETI Institute. Retrieved 2017-09-07.
  10. ^ a b c "What's eating at Pluto?". NASA. NASA. 2016-03-11. Retrieved March 11, 2016.
  11. ^ Amanda M. Zangari; et al. (November 2015). "New Horizons disk-integrated approach photometry of Pluto and Charon". AAA/Division for Planetary Sciences Meeting Abstracts #47: 210.01. Bibcode:2015DPS....4721001Z.

External links[edit]