Many of the features on the Moon are named after astronomers. So are features on Mars and other planets and moons. And hundreds of asteroids also are named for astronomers.
You won’t find many features named for astronomers here on Earth, though. Quite a few streets and schools are named for them, but when it comes to major features, like mountains or cities, the list is pretty thin — especially in the United States. One of the few on the list is Mount Langley, a 14,000-foot summit in California. It’s named for Samuel Pierpont Langley, who was a long-time director of the Allegheny Observatory.
To see a lot more features named for astronomers, though, you need to head south — to Australia, New Zealand, and even Antarctica.
In Australia, for example, a river and an estuary are named for Thomas Brisbane, an early governor of New South Wales. And so is the city of Brisbane, the capital of Queensland. In addition to his official duties, Brisbane was an astronomer. He set up Australia’s first major observatory.
In New Zealand, several of the peaks in a large mountain range are named for astronomers, including Galileo Galilei and Nicholas Copernicus. And an entire range is named for Johannes Kepler.
And in Antarctica, many features are named for early explorer James Ross. But Ross himself named several features for astronomers, including Cape Smyth and Mount Lubbock — down-to-earth features named for men who studied the stars.