Selenography Invitation Suite
Selenography is the study of the surface and physical features of the Moon. The idea that the Moon was not perfectly smooth can be traced as far back as 450 BC, to Democritus, but it was not until the end of the 15th century when serious study of selenography began. The modern scheme of lunar nomenclature was published in 1651 by Giambattista Riccioli. He divided the visible lunar surface into octants, numbered I through VIII. Riccioli used the names of various historical effects and weather conditions attributed to the Moon for its broad features. Thus the Seas of Crises, Serenity, Fertility, Rain, Clouds, and Cold were named. The craters were named based on where they were located. Octants I, II, and III used names from ancient Greece, such as Plato, Atlas, and Archimedes. Octants IV and V used names from the ancient Roman empire, such as Julius Caesar, Tacitus, and Tarutius. Octants VI, VII, and VIII used names of scholars, writers, and philosophers from medieval Europe and Arabic regions, such as Copernicus, Kepler, and Galileo.