Named lunar formationsMary Adela Blagg
Such was Mary Adela Blagg’s talent and passion for the subject that her tutor suggested that she should turn her attention towards the field of lunar nomenclature, and more specifically on the problem of developing a uniform system for naming the Moon’s surface and formations. In 1905, the International Association of Academies subsequently tasked Blagg with collecting the various names of the Moon’s features, and following eight years of research, and guidance from astronomers Joseph Hardcastle and H.H. Turner, she eventually published her book entitled Collated List of Lunar Formations (1913), complete with an index of 4,789 entries.
Born in 1858, Mary Adela Blagg went to school in London, and despite never attending college, she was able to become adept at advanced mathematics by studying her brother’s textbooks. It wasn’t until around 1904, however when she was in her late 40s, that astronomy became a consuming interest of hers after enrolling in a university extension course and attending a lecture series given by Joseph Hardcastle, grandson of the celebrated astronomer William Herschel who in 1781 discovered Uranus.
She was one of five women to be elected simultaneously to become Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society. With the collaboration of Karl Müller, she produced a two volume set on standarizing the nomenclature. It became the standard reference on the subject.