Tolkien Names Mark Faraway Places

“Gandalf on Titan” may sound like the title of an Ace Double but as of today it’s a map feature on Saturn’s largest moon.

The IAU Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature has just announced that Titan has Mountains of Moria and Gandalf Hills.

The IAU convention is that mountains on Titan are named after mountains in Middle Earth, and hills are named after Tolkien’s characters. See the rules here.

Some of these hills are called by the Latin word colles.

The previously named Bilbo Colles, photographed by Cassini.

The previously named Bilbo Colles, photographed by Cassini.

[Thanks to Bill Higgins for this story.]

3 thoughts on “Tolkien Names Mark Faraway Places

  1. One does not simply walk into Mordor – getting rid of an unwanted gold ring now requires a spacecraft.

    That complicates things.

  2. Looking at the rules, Deimos seems ripe for a few sf writers to grab a crater or two: “Deceased authors who wrote about martian satellites.” Only two craters named so far: Swift and Voltaire.

    And lets keep an eye out for more New Horizons discoveries at Pluto and Charon: “Writers associated with Pluto and the Kuiper Belt” and “Fictional and mythological vessels of space and other exploration.”

    How about a few features named for Iain M. Banks Culture ships? “Very Little Gravitas Indeed” seems reasonable for anything on a body as small as Charon.

  3. The rule for large craters on Mars:
    Deceased scientists, especially those who have contributed significantly to the study of Mars; writers and others who have contributed to the lore of Mars.

    Looking at a listing, I saw Asimov, Bonestell, and Burroughs; no surprises there. No Bradbury though.

    Which would be surprising, except that it seems no new large craters have come up for naming since he died.

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