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New map of Pluto and Charon

July 17, 2015

Here is the latest map of Pluto, including latest imagery and informal names. We will update this map as new information is becoming available from the New Horizons team.


Map of Charon

Pluto is a unique planet in that it always turns the same side towards its moon Charon, in other words, it is tidally locked to its Moon. No other planet in the Solar System is tidally locked it their moons, but all moons are tidally locked to their parent planets. This means that unlike other planetary maps, the map of Pluto has two distinct hemispheres: (1) the anti-Charon hemisphere that faces away from Charon (also called “Encounter Hemisphere” because it was illuminated when New Horizons flew by it.) and (2) the sub-Charon hemisphere where Charon is always visible (however, from New Horizons perspective, this is the “far side”).

The features named are all albedo features at this moment. These informally named features are named after underworld beings. For a full list of name themes, see hereHere is a list of all officially chosen future names.

Commemoration of the evil? An interesting debate emerged in social and news media whether underworld creatures should be commemorated in the planetary nomenclature – many people like the idea  (here, here, here, here, although most talk about the sf-derived names). My favorite is, though, not Vader, but Nyami Nyami proposed for a future Styx feature.

When pronunciation matters. The name of its larger Moon, Charon, is also problematic in that although it is officially named after “the Greek mythological boatman who ferried souls across the river Styx to Pluto for judgement” (IAU), i.e., Kharon (greek), it was originally intended to be named after its discoverer’s wife, Charlene (Source). NASA’s New Horizons team members, with some exception, pronounce it as Sharon, which communicates that they regard it as named after Jim Christy’s wife.

“Because of this, as an acknowledgement of Christy and sometimes as an in-joke or shibboleth, the initial sh pronunciation is common among astronomers when speaking English, and this is the prescribed pronunciation at NASA and of the New Horizons team.” (Source)

This, however, is very problematic, because as a rule, planetary satellites cannot be named after their discoverers family members, and this kind of “shibboleth” practically approves some scientists right to do it so. So, a neutral pronunciation should definitely be Kharon.

First global map of Ceres

April 15, 2015

Cartography Beyond the Ordinary World

January 12, 2015


Submission of abstracts for full papers and posters: 15 March 2015
Notification of authors about acceptance: 30 March 2015
Submission of full papers and abstracts for posters together with the registration form: 15 May 2015
Arrival of registration form and payment: 10 June 2015

Dear friends and colleagues, The ICA Commissions on Cartography and Children, Maps for Blind and Visually Impaired People, Planetary Cartography and Cartography for Early Warning and Crisis Management have the pleasure to invite you to participate in our Joint ICA Symposium entitled “Cartography Beyond the Ordinary World”. The event will be held in the Institute of Geosciences of the Fluminense Federal University in Niteroi (Brazil) during the 21st and 22nd of August, 2015 and it is organized within the International Map Year as well as the activities previous to ICC 2015 in Rio de Janeiro. More detailed information can be found on the Symposium website: All the colleagues involved in the organization of the event hope that the symposium will be an excellent occassion to exchange opinions and experiences about the common points in the work of our commissions. One of our main aims is to bring an opportunity to connect the international academic research and educational community with the Brazilian scientific potential in each of our research fields to foster a professional, constructive and innovative dialogue. It is open not only for commission members, but for all those colleagues across the wide spectrum of research, teaching and other activities covered by the world of Cartography. Looking forward to meeting you in Niteroi next August! On behalf of the four participating commissions, Best regards Jesus Reyes

UPDATE — Call for papers for the Rio ICC2015 conference extended

November 12, 2014

3rd Call for Papers – ICC2015 Attending several requests the deadline for full paper and abstract submissions will be extended until November 15th, 2014 November 22nd.

Call for papers in the brand new International Journal of Cartography

November 12, 2014

The International Cartographic Association (ICA) has partnered with Taylor and Francis to establish a new international journal that will promote research in the fields of Cartography and GI Science: The International Journal of Cartography (IJC).


More about the journal:

Postgraduate ICA Research Scholarships 2014/15

November 12, 2014

Are you a young scientist working on the field of planetary cartography (or other field in cartography)? Do you have your own reserach project? Apply now.

Grants to support Young Scientist applicants have a maximum value of Euro 1,000. Opportunities are made for applicants who will have received their graduate degree not more than five years prior to the application or are currently in a PhD status.

Our coming project: children’s planetary maps

October 27, 2014

Here is a preview of what our planetary maps designed for children will look like:


Update: See our poster at LPSC


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