IAU names landing site of Chinese Chang’e-4 probe on far side of the moon


Credit: CNSA

The IAU Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature has approved the name Statio Tianhe for the landing site where the Chinese spacecraft Chang’e-4 touched down on 3 January this year, in the first-ever landing on the far side of the Moon. The name Tianhe originates from the ancient Chinese name for the Milky Way, which was the sky river that separated Niulang and Zhinyu in the folk tale “The Cowherd and the Weaver Girl”.

Four other names for features near the landing site have also been approved. In keeping with the theme of the above-mentioned folk tale, three small craters that form a triangle around the landing site have been named Zhinyu, Hegu, and Tianjin, which correspond to characters in the tale. They are also names of ancient Chinese constellations from the time of the Han dynasty. The fifth approved name is Mons Tai, assigned to the central peak of the crater Von Kármán (lunar_crater) ), in which the landing occurred. Mons Tai is named for Mount Tai, a mountain in Shandong, China, and is about 46 km to the northwest of the Chang’e-4 landing site.


More information

The IAU is the international astronomical organisation that brings together more than 13 500 professional astronomers from more than 100 countries worldwide. Its mission is to promote and safeguard astronomy in all its aspects, including research, communication, education and development, through international cooperation. The IAU also serves as the internationally recognised authority for assigning designations to celestial bodies and the surface features on them. Founded in 1919, the IAU is the world’s largest professional body for astronomers.


* More about Statio Tianhe – https://planetarynames.wr.usgs.gov/Feature/15781

* More about Zhinyu – https://planetarynames.wr.usgs.gov/Feature/15782?__fsk=-1324578513

* More about Hegu – https://planetarynames.wr.usgs.gov/Feature/15783?__fsk=-1239162382

* More about Tianjin – https://planetarynames.wr.usgs.gov/Feature/15784?__fsk=-2039571656

* More about Mons Tai – https://planetarynames.wr.usgs.gov/Feature/15785?__fsk=336126686


Rita Schulz

Chair IAU Working Group Planetary System Nomenclature/ESA


Tel: +31 71 565 48 21

Email: [email protected]

Lars Lindberg Christensen

IAU Press Officer

Garching bei München, Germany

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Cell: +49 173 38 72 621

Email: [email protected]

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Lars Lindberg Christensen
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