Women of the Moon Phase I

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There are 68 craters on the Moon with female names. Of that number, 40 craters have common female names. The remaining 28 craters honor women who have made significant contributions to humanity, many in the area of astronomy. (For a complete list, click here.)

This exercise will deal with the 28 outstanding women that have been honored with a named feature on the Moon by the International Astronomical Union (IAU), the organization in charge of the nomenclature for celestial objects. (To read more about the IAU, click here.)

The purpose of this exercise is to introduce lunar coordinates. By learning about the coordinate system for the Moon, you will be able to find features, such as craters, with ease.

To demonstrate how easy maps are to use, this exercise will introduce 28 craters on the Moon, named for actual women, using a word find puzzle. The puzzle is laid out in a grid with letters and a coordinate system indicated north/south and east/west. You will be given the coordinates of the crater in longitude and latitude.

I hope you have as much fun doing this as I did putting it together. If you would like to send me your comments, please email me at webmaster@womanastronomer.com.


The ancient Egyptians were the first humans to use maps according to archaeological records from 1400 B.C. Today, there are maps for any place you want to find. There are maps for the city in which you live, your state, country, and for the entire Earth. There are also maps for the other objects in the Solar System, like planets and moons, and for the stars you see on a dark night. Knowing how to use a map is a skill you will use for the rest of your life.

Just like on Earth, there are maps of the Moon which show where craters and other features are located. The most common Moon maps use a coordinate system of latitude (north and south) and longitude (east and west). Knowing the latitude and longitude for a particular place, or feature, makes it very easy to find. All you have to do is locate where the two points meet.

Maps, and coordinate systems for celestial objects like the Moon, are simply grids with invisible lines that go down and lines that go across. Each line has a number assigned to it. To learn more about maps and coordinate systems, check out this sites:

bulletPlanet Trek: Mapping New Worlds
bulletMaps and Globes
bulletGeographic and Projected Coordinate Systems - Keys to Creating and Understanding Maps
bulletMoon Landers for Teachers (3-4)

Maps are like a puzzle. The clues are the latitude and longitude. When you have these two clues, you can easily find them on the map.


When you have completed this exercise, you will have a map showing the location of the 28 craters on the Moon named for women. Have fun and good luck!

  1. Check out the Web sites listed above to learn more about maps and coordinate systems. Be sure to read Planet Trek: Mapping New Worlds

  2. Print out the puzzle by clicking here. This is a .pdf file and you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader to open this file. 

    Here is a .jpg file if you are unable to open the .pdf file. puzzle.jpg (250617 bytes)

  3. To find the 28 names listed on the right side of the puzzle, use the coordinates provided at the bottom of the page. A couple of things to keep in mind...N=north; S=south; E=east; W=west. Also, if the number is 78.1E, for example, the letter will be found in the east column under 70; if the number is 0.3N, it will be found in the 0 row. Columns run from up to down; rows run from left to right.

    Example:  Using 0.3N, 78.1E. Find the point where 0 latitude (north/south) and 70 longitude (east in this case) intersect. You will find the first letter of her name is J. With J as your starting point, look up, down, and diagonally, and forward and backwards, to find her name. (The name is Jenkins.)

  4. Write the name next to the coordinates.

  5. Find the other 27 names in the word find puzzle and write the names next to the coordinates.

  6. Get your favorite highlighter and highlight the first letter of each name.

  7. Go to the Map-A-Planet Web site by clicking here. Then...

    Click on the picture of the Moon.


    Click on "Clementine 750nm Basemap."


    Click on the "Easy Version" Clickable Map.


    Print the map of the Moon.

  8. Using the information from your completed puzzle map, plot the approximate location of the 28 craters on the map of the Moon. Be sure to label each crater.

  9. Answer the 10 questions located here.

  10. Send an email to webmaster@womanastronomer.com and let me know how you did. I'm still beta-testing this, so your comments are greatly appreciated.


Updated 01.01.2008
theWoman Astronomer 2001-2008

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