Space

Two lunar craters named in honor of the mission “Apollo 8”

NASA / IAU

The International Astronomical Union officially assigned the names of the Apollo 8 mission to the two lunar craters, the first manned flyby in the history of the moon. Both craters are visible on the classic picture Earthrise, taken from the spacecraft astronaut Bill Anders, and therefore were named Anders’ Earthrise ( «Earth Sunrise Anders”) and 8 Homeward ( «8th returns home”), said in a  statement on its website .

The moon is in a situation of tidal capture, that is, it is always facing one side of the Earth, so no “real” earthly sunrises on the lunar surface can be seen, the Earth is always at about one point in the sky, only slightly moving from this position due to lunar librations . But the flight in near-moon orbit allowed the Apollo 8 crew — Anders, Frank Borman, and James Lowell — to see our planet rise on the lunar horizon.The flight of the Apollo 8 took place almost 50 years ago – it lasted from December 21 to December 27, 1968. Three astronauts made ten orbits around the moon, took a lot of photos and took part in live television, and then safely returned to Earth.

In honor of this anniversary, the Working Group on Toponymy of the Solar System Objects ( Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature ) decided to mark it on the lunar map. Up to this point the craters were denoted by letters.

Earlier, the International Astronomical Union approved geographical names on the  surface of Pluto and its moon Charon .

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