Legendary Beatles singer and songwriter John Lennon was among those honored when names were recently assigned to 10 impact craters on Planet Mercury.
The International Astronomical Union (IAU)—the arbiter of planetary and satellite naming since its inception in 1919—assigned the names in keeping with the established naming theme for Mercury craters, which calls for all newly designated features on this planet to be named after “deceased artists, musicians, painters, and authors who have made outstanding or fundamental contributions to their field and have been recognized as historically significant art figures for more than 50 years.”
The newly named craters are:
• Barney, for Natalie Clifford Barney (1876-1972), an American-French playwright, poet, and novelist.
• Berlioz, for Hector Berlioz (1803-1869), a French Romantic composer best known for his compositions “Symphonie fantastique” and “Grande messe des morts.”
• Calder, for Alexander Calder (1898-1976), an American sculptor best known as the originator of the mobile, a type of kinetic sculpture made with delicately balanced or suspended components that move in response to motor power or air currents.
• Capote, for Truman Capote (1924-1984), an American author whose short stories, novels, plays, and nonfiction include the novella “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and the true-crime novel “In Cold Blood.”
• Caruso, for Enrico Caruso (1873-1921), an Italian tenor who sang to great acclaim at the major opera houses of Europe and the Americas and appeared in a wide variety of roles from the Italian and French repertoires that ranged from the lyric to the dramatic.
• Ensor, for James Sidney Ensor (1860-1949), a Belgian painter and printmaker, considered an important influence on expressionism and surrealism.
• Giambologna, for Jean Boulogne Giambologna (1529-1608), a Dutch sculptor known for his marble and bronze statuary in a late Renaissance or Mannerist style.
• Lennon, for John Winston Ono Lennon (1940-1980), an English songwriter, musician, and singer who rose to worldwide fame as a founding member of the Beatles, the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed band in the history of popular music.
• Remarque, for Erich Maria Remarque (1898-1970), a German author best known for his novel “All Quiet on the Western Front,” which depicted the horrors of war from the viewpoint of young German soldiers.
• Vieira da Silva, for Maria Elena Vieira da Silva (1908-1992), a Portuguese-born French painter of intricate, semiabstract compositions.
These 10 newly named craters join 114 other craters named since the MESSENGER spacecraft’s first Mercury flyby in January 2008. More information about the names of features on Mercury and the other objects in the solar system can be found at the U.S. Geological Survey’s planetary nomenclature website: http://planetarynames.wr.usgs.gov/
“The MESSENGER team is delighted that the IAU has named an additional 10 impact craters on Mercury,” said MESSENGER Principal Investigator Sean Solomon of Columbia University. “We are particularly pleased that eight of the 10 individuals honored made all or many of their artistic contributions in the twentieth century, the same century in which the MESSENGER mission was conceived, proposed, and approved for flight. Imagine!”
“You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one…”
—from the song “Imagine,” by John Lennon
Photo caption: Crater Lennon on Mercury. Diameter: 59 miles.
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