Saturday, October 17, 2015

Moon craters with Greek names

The person who chose to name the selenographical feature after astronomers was the Jesuit mathematician, astronomer and physicist Giovanni Battista Riccioli who was born 17th April 1598.
Renaissance Mathematics

The Greek names given to Moon craters by Giovanni Riccioli offer us also today a nice way to memorize the features and give a compact introduction to the history of Greek Astronomy. Some of these are studied in the blogs referred below by the name of the crater. Wikipedia quotes are used to describe the crater and there are compact discussions of the astronomic contributions of the named persons. The Moon is an interesting way to learn to know better the exceptional achievements of ancient scholars who were able just by observation, logical reasoning and mathematical thinking to figure out secrets of the universe without help of telescopes.

While Byzantine and Latin Christian world was not enthusiastic about pagan Greek science and many of the works were forgotten, major works were translated into Arabic and studied by Islamic scholars. When East and West met rather violently during the Crusader period West learned from East to appreciate the wisdom and learning of ancient Greeks.

An exception is, of course, Ptolemy's Almagest (known by the Arabic form of the name) that was universally used by all in Christian and Islamic worlds guiding navigatros who relied on the movements of Sun, Moon, the five visible planets and stars on the sky.

In addition to the names of Greek and one Roman scholars the list contains two mythological characters, Endymion, which I included because of the beauty of the legend associated with Moon goddess Selene and Atlas, the Titan who according to Greek mythology holds up the sky but not particularly associated with any heavenly bodies on the sky.










Menelaus (Roman)







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