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Headshot of Emily Lakdawalla

New names for Rhea

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla

27-04-2010 14:08 CDT

Topics: naming things, Rhea, Saturn's moons

I learned today from Jason Perry that 42 new crater names have been approved by the International Astronomical Union for Rhea, the second largest of Saturn's moons. Especially good news is that one of the newly named craters is one that has heretofore been referred to as "The Splat." The Splat is a relatively fresh crater with bright rays that reach across most of Rhea's leading hemisphere. It is henceforth to be known as Inktomi, named for a Native American spider spirit, a trickster god involved in the Lakota creation story. Rhea's features are named for people and places from creation myths.

Rhea in natural color

NASA / JPL / SSI / color composite by Gordan Ugarkovic

Rhea in natural color
Rhea is the second largest of Saturn's moons, an icy body 1,538 kilometers in diameter. Cassini took the frames from which this color composite was made on January 17, 2007.

I'll include the current list of Rhean feature names below, but of course it will get updated again as scientists need to put names to the features they are studying. The lists are maintained by the Planetary Geomatics Group of the United States Geological Survey's Astrogeology Research Program at the Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature. For a long time, the Gazetteer has had a search function that enables you to find specific names or generate lists of certain feature types on each mapped world. Recently -- in the last year or couple, I'm not actually sure when they started doing this -- they've added something new and incredibly useful: maps. The USGS has always been an organization that makes maps, but the problem with traditional maps is that they become outdated as soon as they are printed. The maps provided on the Gazetter website are different: they are living documents, updated whenever new features are named. This is really a departure from the USGS' past, and I'm sure that transitioning to a view of maps as dynamic rather than static documents was a huge and difficult shift for them. I'm glad they did it though!

In the past, I might have taken the USGS names map and posted it here for you to see, but I won't do that today because, at some point, more names will be added to Rhea's map. Instead, I'll link you to the PDF document on the USGS website containing the Rhea map, which will be up-to-date no matter when you follow the link!

Names for places on Rhea

Names in bold text are new as of April 23. I think my favorite new name is "Gborogboro." Longitudes are measured positive to the west, with zero longitude at the sub-saturnian point.

Aananin 34.9 339.9 -- Korean god of the Heavens.
Abassi -21.3 146.5 87.2 Efik (Ghana) creator god.
Adjua 40.2 118.9 -- Mythical heroine and ancestor of the Ulci tribe.
Agunua 63.3 66.2 -- San Cristobal (Melanesia) god who made sea, land, people.
Ameta 53.3 21.9 -- Ceram (Indonesia) ancestor whose blood made Hainuwele.
Anguta 25.7 190 46.7 Eskimo/Inuit (N. Canada) supreme being who created everything, father of the sea goddess Sedna.
Arunaka -15.3 22.1 -- Inca creator of all things.
Atum -47.1 1.1 -- Old creator God of Heliopolis; became son of Ptah.
Awonawilona -37.3 150.3 49.8 Zuni (New Mexico, USA) primeval deity, supreme life giver.
Bulagat -38.2 15.2 -- Mythological ancestor of the Buriat tribe.
Bumba 63.1 50.4 -- Bushongo; dwelt in primordial waters; vomited up sun, moon, stars, animals, and men. Showed man how to make fire.
Burkhan 66.8 310.6 -- Buriat (Siberia) god who created world.
Chingaso -17.1 106 47.8 Jivaro (Peru) wife of the creator god Kumpara.
Con -25.8 12.7 -- Inca coastal creator god.
Dangun 7.2 208 77.5 Mythical ancestor of Korean nation, son of creator god.
Djuli -31.2 46.7 -- Neghidahan (Ukrainian) first man who was ancestor of the people.
Dohitt -18 74.1 93.4 Mosetene (N. Bolivia) creator of the earth and men.
Ellyay 71.4 91.8 -- Yakutian ancestor of the people.
Faro 45.3 114 -- Mande; his sacrificial killing in heaven atoned for his twin Pemba's sin; purified Earth.
Fatu 7.7 176.1 88 Samoan (Polynesia) male of the first human couple.
Gborogboro -12.7 162.2 62.5 Lugbara (Uganda) first man, pair to Meme.
Gmerti -52 192.6 57.2 Georgian (Caucasus) god, founder and keeper of the world order.
Gucumatz 37 175.8 68.6 Mayan creator god.
Haik -36.6 29.3 -- Mythological ancestor of the Armenian people.
Haoso 8.3 12.5 -- Manchurian creator of all things.
Heller 10.1 315.1 -- Auracanin creator of men and bringer of civilization.
Huracan 53.2 188.5 71.2 Kiche (Guatemala) creator god, bringer of children, ruler of wind and storms.
Imberombera -33.3 216.7 47.2 Kakadu (N. Australia) creator goddess, the Great Mother, mate of the giant Wuraka.
Inktomi -14.1 112.1 47.2 Dakota (USA) spirit, "The Spider," created time, space and language.
Inmar -2.3 301.6 54.8 Udmurtian (Uralic Finns, Russia) creator god.
Iraca 39.4 112.1 -- Incan creator god who became the moon.
Izanagi -49.4 310.2 -- Japanese creator god, brother of Izanami.
Izanami -46.3 313.4 -- Sister and wife of Izanagi; creator goddess.
Jumo 52.8 66.5 -- Marijan sky god.
Karora 5.9 20.1 -- Aranda (Australia) ancestor who, in his dreams, gives birth to animals and male children.
Khado 41.6 359.1 -- Nanajan; mythological hero who built the world. The first Shaman.
Kiho -11.1 358.7 -- Tuamotu (Society Islands) progenitor being; existed in void; made land, sea.
Kuksu 25.3 288.7 34.6 Pomo (N. California, USA) deity who created the world with his brother Madumda.
Kuma 10 277.2 50 Yaruro (Venezuela) moon goddess, creator of all things.
Kumpara 9.6 327.1 -- Jivaro (Ecuador) creator god.
Kun Lun Chasma 46 307.5 -- Mountain dwelling place of the immortals.
Leza -21.8 309.2 -- Tonga originator of the conditions of life.
Lowa 40.9 16.6 -- Marshal Islands (Melanesia) great creator god.
Luli 46.5 243.1 52.4 Ember-goose who took up some clay from an ocean floor to create a land in Mansi myth (W. Siberia, Russia).
Madumda -36.9 64.8 82.6 Pomo (N. California, USA) creator of the universe, brother of Kuksu.
Maheo 31.6 281.7 29.8 Cheyenne (Great Plains, USA) Great Spirit, creator of the world.
Malunga 65.1 56.2 -- Yao (Bantu); creator god; left Earth to live in sky when man was cruel to animals.
Manoid 29.5 8.5 -- Negrito (Malay Peninsula) female progeniter goddess; wife of Pedn.
Melo -53.2 7.1 -- Minyong (India); original male.
Mubai 55.8 20.2 -- Tibetan heavenly god.
Napi 26.9 174.8 55.8 Blackfoot (Alberta, Canada/Montana, USA) creator of the earth, animals and mankind.
Nishanu -9 129 103.4 Arikara (N. Dakota, USA) creation spirit, great sky chief.
Num 24 92.7 -- Nenets and Selkup (Samoyed) god of heaven.
Nzame 9 24.9 119.4 Fang (Gabon) sky god and creator of all things.
Obatala -1.1 269.7 67.2 Yoruba (Nigeria) sky god involved in the work of creation.
Olorun 24.7 155.4 58.4 Yoruba (Nigeria) creator god, gave life to man.
Ormazd 52.5 58.5 -- Persian progenitor god of light.
Pachacamac -23.4 83.7 46.8 Inca supreme god, "Earth maker."
Pan Ku 65.7 107.7 -- Miao; creator of all things.
Pedn 46 351.7 -- Negrito (Malay Peninsula) god who created first men.
Pokoh -71.7 326.4 45.2 Pallawonaps (S. California, USA) deity who made all things.
Pouliuli -16.9 284.4 59.8 The first male being in Hawaiian myth, parent (with Powehiwehi) of all the creatures in the ocean.
Powehiwehi -8.2 280.4 271.2 The first female being in Hawaiian myth, parent (with Pouliuli) of all the creatures in the ocean.
Pu Chou Chasma 26.1 95.3 -- Mountain attacked by Kung Chung.
Puntan 33.9 292.4 33 Chamorro (Guam Island, Micronesia) pre-existent being from whose body the world was formed.
Qat -23.8 351.6 -- New Hebrides (Melanesia); born from a stone; formed men out of trees.
Samni -47.7 90.7 101.4 Kachins (Burma) primeval god, the male element and father of the gods.
Seveki 12.9 164.7 89.1 Evenki (Siberia, Russia) creator of the earth and man.
Shedi -53.5 346.8 47.6 The first woman, ancestor of human race, co-creator (with her brother and husband Melo) of the earth and sky in the myths of the Minyong (Assam, India).
Sholmo 12 346.4 -- Buriat (Siberia) devil who creates.
Taaroa 16.5 95.5 -- Tahitian god imminent in all creation; existed alone in the void.
Tane -12.5 57.4 82.6 Tuamotu Islands (Polynesia) creator god.
Tawa 17.9 175.2 62.2 Hopi (Arizona, USA) sun god who existed at the beginning of creation, father of everything.
Thunupa 45.6 21.3 -- Inca creator of all things.
Tika 25.1 84.1 -- Abkhaz (Georgian - eastern Black Sea region) supreme being.
Tirawa 34.2 151.7 -- Great spirit of Pawnee Tribe (USA), created first men; his messengers were the planets, stars, lightning and thunder.
Tore 0 340 -- Pygmy lord of the world, creator of all things. Note: Defines 340 degrees longitude on Rhea.
Torom -68.1 343.5 -- Ostyak (western Siberia) sky god.
Tsuki-Yomi 35 43.8 35 Japanese moon god, born from the right eye of the primeval god Izanagi.
Tuwale -78 242.4 59.6 Ceram (Molucca Islands, Indonesia) sun god and personification of the sky, took part in creation.
Uku 78.7 95.5 -- Estonian super god.
Wakonda 48.6 269.7 123 Sioux (Great Plains, USA) great creator of all things.
Wende -56.3 226.4 83 Mossi (Burkina Faso) supreme god who lives in the sun, creator of the heavens and earth.
Whanin 66.9 115 -- Korean creator of all things.
Woyengi 13.7 294.5 43 Ijaw (Nigeria) creatrix who made men out of earth.
Wulbari 67 88.9 33 Krachi (Ghana) primeval sky god, mate of mother earth.
Wuraka 25.1 4 -- Kakadu (Australia) ancestor of all people; a giant.
Xamba 2.1 349.7 -- Bushman supreme being, creator of all things.
Xowalaci 2.4 56.3 60 Joshua (Oregon, USA) creator god.
Xu 55 71.9 -- Bushman creator.
Yu-Ti 50.1 81.5 -- August Personage of Jade; supreme primal Chinese god.
Zicum -50.9 111.2 76.8 Assyro/Babylonian primeval goddess from whom came the earth and the heavens, mother of the gods.

See other posts from April 2010


Or read more blog entries about: naming things, Rhea, Saturn's moons


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