Structures on Charon have been named. One crater is named after a character in Lem’s stories
The International Astronomical Union (IAU) has given official names to structures on the surface of Pluto’s largest moon, Charon. The names immortalize legendary explorers and visionaries, those real and those fictional. One of the craters was named after Pilot Pirx from Stanislaw Lem’s stories.
Names for the structures on Charon have been proposed by the compositeoł New Horizons from NASA. They were approved a few days ago by the IAU Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature – astronomer gathering bodyow from around the world, whichory has the right to give official names to celestial bodies and their surface features.
syndromeoł New Horizons mission was asked to propose the names because their probe was the first to approach Pluto and its moon in 2015ow providing a lot of valuable information about them. However, the New Horizons probe did not stop at the orbit of this dwarf planet and flew further towards the Kuiper belt, where it is expected to approach the object 2014MU69 in 2019.
Teamoł New Horizons informally used a number of names to describe the valleys, fissures and craters discovered on Charon’s surface during its first approach. Some of them were submitted by internautow from around the world.
Charon is Pluto’s largest satellite. It was discovered in 1978 by American astronomer James Christy’ego. Circles Pluto every 6 days and 9 hours. It is constantly drawing attentionocon to the dwarf planet by the same side and about twice as small as it is. Its diameter is 1212 kilometersow. This moon has many interesting geological features, such as the crateroin similar to those observed on most lunarow and it is some of these that have been given official names.
The names on Charon refer to the subrobeetleow, discoveroc or researchers, those real and those from science-fiction books. The authors themselves were also honoredoin these books. There are also names referring to mythology – Charon himself is named after the mythological carrier of souls across the Styx.
From the Polish point of view, it is worth notingot attention to the naming of the crater after Pilot Pirx from Stanislaw Lem’s novel. Another crater was named Nemo after Captain Nautilus from the novel „Twenty thousand miles of undersea navigation” Julius Verne. Then there is the crater Nasreddin named after the legendary sage AND philosopher from folk tales told in the Middle East, Southern Europe and parts of Asia. Another crater is named after the hero of the podrożing to the seabed in one of Russia’s medieval perennial – Sadko.
Amongod names gor and the names of established science-fiction writers are emerging. There are gory Calrke’a – from Sir Arthur C. Clarke’a, author of such novels as „Meeting Rama”, or „2001: A Space Odyssey”. The latter pervadeosł to the screen and directed wspolnie with author Stanley Kubrick and his name was also given to one of the gor. There is the roalso gora Butler in honor of the first science-fiction writer, whoora received a MacArthur Fellowship award – Octavia E. Butler.
The IAU also decided to make references to the names of mythological statecraftow. In honor of the ship Argo, whichohe canyon that Jason and the Argonauts sailed on their expedition to find the Golden Fleece was named after them. There is also Mandjet Canyon, referring to the name of the boat thatora every day carried across the sky by the sun god Ra in Egyptian mythology.