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Why did Galileo end up with such a minor lunar crater named after him?

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#1 Helvetios

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Posted 01 August 2020 - 09:14 PM

I have always been puzzled that if lunar craters were named after significant people in the history of science and mathematics, how did Galileo end up with such a minor crater that is not very prominent?  Once he got his hands on a telescope he did what a good scientist does, which is use it and publish.  As is well known his drawings of the moon and Jupiter with its four "Galilean" satellites in 1610 were a game changer, as we say today.  He then argued that the views of the moons of Jupiter and phases of Venus better supported the Copernican theory of the solar system than the Ptolemaic.  Seems like he should have gotten a mighty prominent crater for this.

 

Richard

 


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#2 Dynan

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Posted 01 August 2020 - 09:38 PM

And who's this Tycho guy anyway? lol.gif



#3 areyoukiddingme

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Posted 01 August 2020 - 09:42 PM

I've wondered about that too.

 

Did a quick bit of googling and have a hypothesis. Maybe someone with some actual knowledge can confirm or dismiss.

 

The naming of moon features was pushed by Jesuits, a Catholic priest, https://en.wikipedia...ttista_Riccioli

 

And then if you search for Galileo and the Jesuits, bingo, first sentence of abstract:

 

"More than once, after his trial, Galileo asserted that the Jesuits were the source of all his troubles."

 

https://link.springe...94-009-2997-5_4

 

So I'm going to guess that he **** off the Jesuits, they controlled the naming, and the small crater was given as a snub.


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#4 JamesMStephens

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Posted 01 August 2020 - 10:37 PM

One of the articles in Joseph Ashbrook's Astronomicl Scrapbook points out that the larger the contribution to the study of the Moon the smaller the crater.  The crater Galileo was named by a fellow named Madler in the 19th century.  Galileo's name had been applied earlier to a another lunar feature by Riccioli--a Jesuit!  Interesting to note that Galileo's colleague, Fr Benedetto Castelli, was a Benedictine.

 

Jim


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#5 Helvetios

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Posted 01 August 2020 - 10:51 PM

I think you two are on to something here.  I just read this on Wikipedia with regard to the huge crater Clavius: "The crater is named for the Jesuit priest Christopher Clavius, a 16th-century German mathematician and astronomer."

 

Richard



#6 Helvetios

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Posted 01 August 2020 - 10:58 PM

One of the articles in Joseph Ashbrook's Astronomicl Scrapbook points out that the larger the contribution to the study of the Moon the smaller the crater.  The crater Galileo was named by a fellow named Madler in the 19th century.  Galileo's name had been applied earlier to a another lunar feature by Riccioli--a Jesuit!  Interesting to note that Galileo's colleague, Fr Benedetto Castelli, was a Benedictine.

 

Jim

Any idea of the lunar feature name now that Riccioli had originally assigned to Galileo?

 

Richard



#7 areyoukiddingme

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Posted Yesterday, 01:08 AM

I think you two are on to something here.  I just read this on Wikipedia with regard to the huge crater Clavius: "The crater is named for the Jesuit priest Christopher Clavius, a 16th-century German mathematician and astronomer."

 

Richard

Jesuits, the woke of the 16th century. 



#8 goodricke1

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Posted Yesterday, 05:31 AM

LOL ease off on the conspiracy theories guys.



#9 Helvetios

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Posted Yesterday, 07:25 AM

Any idea of the lunar feature name now that Riccioli had originally assigned to Galileo?

 

Richard

OK, it was there in the Wikipedia article on the crater Galilaei:

 

"Initially, the name Galilaeus had been applied by Giovanni Battista Riccioli, an Italian Jesuit who produced one of the first detailed maps of the Moon in 1651, to a large and bright nearby albedo feature (now known as Reiner Gamma). The name was transferred to its present location by Johann Heinrich Mädler in his influential Mappa Selenographica, published in collaboration with Wilhelm Beer in four parts between 1834 and 1836. Mädler's motive for this change was the fact that his lunar map did not name albedo features, forcing him to transfer Galileo's name to an insignificant nearby crater."

 

I guess by the 1830's all the prominent craters were taken!

 

Richard


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#10 JamesMStephens

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Posted Yesterday, 03:11 PM

LOL ease off on the conspiracy theories guys.

Riccioli named a prominent feature after Galileo, so no conspiracy on the part of the Jesuits there.  (Nor did I imply any!)  It was Madler (not a Jesuit) who saddled Galileo with a relatively modest crater.  



#11 Helvetios

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Posted Yesterday, 05:28 PM

Something still does not add up.  Copernicus - giant contribution to cosmology at the time, huge crater right near the center of the near side.  Tycho Brahe - huge contribution to astronomy and astrometery that enabled Kepler to discern his laws - brightest, most prominent crater on the near side of the moon.  Kepler - huge contribution on the motion of the planets that enabled Newton - very bright crater.  Galileo - first drawing of the surface of another celestial body and the discovery of celestial bodies orbiting another planet, and, what, a little 15 km crater that is barely detectable?  Something's wrong.  Speaking of Newton, it's almost worse.  A crater so far south that it is barely discernible.  What?

 

Just not right as long as you're going to name craters after significant scientists and mathematicians, especially those that contributed to our understanding of the cosmos.  Where's the IAU?


Edited by Helvetios, Yesterday, 05:30 PM.

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#12 JamesMStephens

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Posted Yesterday, 06:01 PM

The IAU may have standardized things in the 20th Century, but why undo history?  The lunar features were named by a relatively small number of people over several centuries.  Very few astronomers were selenographers, the people who named the features were the small number--often amateur--who were able and willing to draw maps after peering through an eyepiece.  The fact is Riccioli named an apparently prominent feature after Galileo early on, removing him from the running to get one of the great craters.  When the naming convention changed Madler had to use the unnamed craters he had available to him.  

 

Ashbrook (The "long night" of selenography") points out that there were distinct periods in lunar studies.  The first was in the early (1610-1650) Seventeenth Century, back in the days of small, poor quality nonachromatic refractors or enormous, poor quality "aerial" telescopes.  Interest died out until the early Nineteenth Century when achromatic refractors and micrometers were available, and later, large professional equipment towards the end of the century.  Ashbrook notes that in the mid-eighteenth century there was interest in timing the passage of Earth's shadow over particular craters during a lunar eclipse, generating a real incentive for good lunar maps.  Interesting!  


Edited by JamesMStephens, Yesterday, 09:56 PM.

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#13 NinePlanets

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Posted Yesterday, 06:26 PM

Well, we DO call them the Gallilean moons. Four whole moons!

That's pretty special in my book.

Does that make up for the little crater?

 

Now, why did Armstrong, Aldrin, and Collins get such a tiny craters?


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#14 JamesMStephens

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Posted Today, 12:02 AM

Hey, while we're at it Harriot (https://www.scienced...90114110948.htm) never got a crater until 1970.



#15 Mister T

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Posted Today, 05:43 AM

I don't think Queen mentions any other astronomers in any of their songs.

Mama mia let me go!!


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#16 Helvetios

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Posted Today, 07:06 AM

Hey, while we're at it Harriot (https://www.scienced...90114110948.htm) never got a crater until 1970.

Very interesting.  Did not know about this person.  I look forward to eventually reading the published article.  It sounds like he made some good maps for the time.  I wonder how widely published these were.  You need to be in lunar orbit to see his crater since it is on the far side (like Einstein's, by the way, but he is recent in this whole naming business).  Thanks for pointing this out.

 

I'm sure that once the concept of Hans Lipperhey's telescope started to get around, the news traveled fast and I'll bet that a lot of people who had access to one turned it toward the sky.  We only know about the ones who had the patience to really use it and publish something.


Edited by Helvetios, Today, 07:21 AM.

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#17 Helvetios

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Posted Today, 07:17 AM

Well, we DO call them the Gallilean moons. Four whole moons!

That's pretty special in my book.

Does that make up for the little crater?

 

Now, why did Armstrong, Aldrin, and Collins get such a tiny craters?

Yes, referring to them as the Galilean moons is certainly a fitting name and partially makes up for his tiny crater.

 

As for the Apollo astronauts, I guess the idea was to find some near the landing site, which only had small craters near by.  Otherwise, they would have to have reassigned some or find some on the far side.  Lindbergh got a crater on the near side at the expense of one called Messier G.



#18 FirstSight

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Posted Today, 11:09 AM

Well, Galileo did have a song named after him by the famous rock band Queen, and it's a safe bet that wordlwide familiarity with Queen's "Galileo" is immensely greater by orders of magnitude than the number of folks who actually know the names of ANY of the Lunar craters.  That would also likely be true even of another tune "Galileo Galieli" by the Indigo Girls.

 

Suck on that lemon, Tycho and Copernicus.  grin.gif  You get dusty dead craters, Galileo gets lusty lively groupies!


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#19 Michael Covington

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Posted Today, 03:19 PM

The rest of the story is surely in this book, which I don't have handy:

https://www.cambridg...ature?format=PB


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