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Blagg, Mary Adela

lunar appointed nomenclature names

(1858–1944) British amateur astronomer; prepared the definitive uniform lunar nomenclature.

Mary Blagg was born in Cheadle, North Staffordshire, the eldest daughter of a solicitor, and lived there all her life. After education at home and boarding school in London she remained at home, occupying herself with voluntary social work. She had a natural aptitude for mathematics and taught herself using her brothers’ school books; later she had no difficulty in manipulating harmonic analysis. When in middle age she attended a course of University Extension lectures given in Cheadle, she became seriously interested in astronomy. She wished to do original work and her tutor pointed out the great need for a uniform lunar nomenclature. At that time there were many discrepancies between the maps of the principal selenographers, the same name attached to different formations and different names given to the same formation. In 1905 a committee was appointed by the International Association of Academies to attack the problem. Mary Blagg was appointed by S A Saunder, a member of that committee, to collate the names given to all the lunar formations on existing maps of the moon and her resulting Collated List was published in 1913. In 1920 the International Astronomical Union was formed and Mary Blagg was appointed to its Lunar Commission. She continued to work on lunar nomenclature and was appointed with Dr Müller of Vienna to prepare a definitive list of names. Named Lunar Formations became the standard authority on lunar nomenclature (1935). The International Lunar Committee gave her name to a small lunar crater.

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