Encyclopedia of Planetary Landforms

2015 Edition
| Editors: Henrik Hargitai, Ákos Kereszturi

Satellite Crater

  • Peter Grego
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-3134-3_328


A crater nearby another, usually larger ( parent or patronymic) crater.


 Lettered crater; Satellitic crater; Satellite feature


In many cases the term satellite crater is used as a synonym of “secondary crater,” but they may or may not be  secondary raters (the labeling of any particular feature as a secondary crater depends upon a geological interpretation).

History of Investigation

Satellite craters of the Moon were first designated in a systematic way by Beer and Mädler. They assigned secondary craters a letter associated with a nearby parent crater. Beer and Mädler labeled these craters by placing the letter on the side facing the parent crater (Mosher 2010). In the original IAU nomenclature of Blagg and Müller, capital Roman letters were used for naming depressions, including craters; they used double Roman letters for a few small craters, regarded as “satellites” of a “lettered crater.” In 1973 in part from a NASA request, IAU declared its...

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  1. Andersson LE, Whitaker EA (1982) NASA catalogue of lunar nomenclature. NASA Reference Publication 1097. NASA, TucsonGoogle Scholar
  2. Arthur DWG, Agnieray AP, Horvath RA, Wood CA, Chapman CR (1963) The system of lunar craters, quadrant I. Commun Lunar Planet Lab 2(30):71–78, University of Arizona (NASA CR-52401)Google Scholar
  3. IAU WGPSN (2012) Descriptor terms (feature types). Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature. http://planetarynames.wr.usgs.gov/DescriptorTerms
  4. Mosher J (2010) Satellite feature. Moon-wiki. Modified 22 July 2010. http://the-moon.wikispaces.com/Satellite+feature
  5. Whitaker E (1999) Mapping and naming the Moon. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.British Astronomical Association/Society for Popular AstronomySt AustellUK