Specks of Indonesia in the Solar System
(This is a part of Martian Series (Planet series?) I’m queueing in this moment)
Looking through this map which I have previously mentioned in this article, a crater’s name lit up my interest. Tomini Crater? Is that the same Tomini with the Tomini I know? After shifting through Martian Crater name list, I found 4 of craters with Indonesia-related names. Apparently this has been caught interest of other Indonesian article writers as proven by these articles. Are there other features in out solar system with names based on Indonesian culture and mythology? Apparently they are. Shifting through IAU Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature, there are few familiar an unfamiliar names with “Indonesian” in their description.
Venus is named based on the Goddess of love, sex, beauty, and fertility. No wonder that a lot of Venusian features are named after females except three, Alpha Regio, Beta Regio, and Maxwell Montes.
Corona (plural: coronae) is an oval-shaped feature appearing in Venus and Uranus’ moon Miranda. It might be formed by upwellings of warm material below the surface. Coronae in Venus are named based on Fertility and earth goddesses. One of them is Kumang Corona. It’s based on Mother goddess of Ibans, the Sea Dayaks of Borneo/Kalimantan. The Ibans are now mostly living in Sarawak and Sabah (71.2%) of Malaysia, West Kalimantan of Indonesia (26.8%), and Brunei.
The story about Kumang itself is based on Keling and Kumang. Keling and Kumang were a couple from Heaven, namely Panggau Libau and Gelong, besides being among the seven major gods worshipped by the Ibans. The beautiful and refined Kumang was kidnapped by Apai Sabit Berkait while looking for fish in the river, Keling then able to save him using his ability to hide himself from his enemy. Their stories are used as role models of Iban tribes. (Source)
Lumimuut Corona is based on legend of Toar and Lumimuut, the ancestor god and goddessess of Minahasa people. Lumimuut is the second female made of big shorerocks by the creator god, Empung to bring prosperity to Minahasa after the previous Minahasans were wiped out by Ampuhan flood created by Empung because of their multitude of sins. As she and the first woman Karema were women, they are worried about the future of Minahasans. After praying, Lumimuut was made pregnant and giving birth for Toar. After long journey (very long story, believe me), they are looking at each other as husband and wife and believed to be the ancestors of the-now- Minahasans (Source)
Sitapi Corona is supposedly based on Indonesian earth, nature and creator goddess. It’s rather hard to find information about the goddess, but I found a few relations to Batak Tribe (I think sitapi is a Batak word)? and the story of Sitapi Mumbang Suro, a daughter of Sutan Batara Guru Doli who lives in Sky World Up Above and married Aji Malim Leman on earth. After a clash with her mother-in-law, she and her son left the earth to go back to her homeland. With a great effort Aji Malim Leman has successfully brought her back to earth. (Source. Also mentioned in Print, Poetics and Politics by Susan Rodgers (2005))
Tholus (plural: Tholi) is a small domical mountain or hill. They are present on Venus, Mars, asteroid 4 Vesta, and Jupiter’s moon Io. On Venus most are named after goddesses.
The Eastern Toraja (Toraja Bare’e) of Sulawesi drew an important distinction between the upper world and the underworld, which were inhabited by the remote deities Laki and Ndara respectively, which are also called Father Sky and Mother Earth. Ndara used to live in the upper world with other gods, but was evicted to earth. She was dropped of by a wire into the ocean. The large waves caused foams in the quiet ocean. The foams then stuck into Ndara, frozen as soil, thicker and thicker, until it’s enough to grow grass and plants. (Source1. Religi Suku Murba di Indonesia by Harun Hadiwijono (2000)).
Uperlu and Upunusa are the sun god and earth goddess of Leti Island, Maluku. To quote National Museum entries on the ancestor statues of Letinese
These carved wooden statues would be placed atop a pile of stones at the centre of a village to protect the centre of a village to protect the villagers from physical and supernatural harm. The souls of the deceased would be housed in a shrine,there to be honoured by their descendants and the community. According to Leti belief, this veneration formed part of the devotional rites to Uperlu and Upunusa, the sun god and earth goddess. The effigies are also the objects of rituals for requisting rain and a dood harvest. In ancient Indonesian art,the human figure had two,perhaps related, meanings: as guardian figures and as a symbol of ancestral spirits.
Chasma (plural:chasmata) is a deep, elongated, steep-sided depression. They appear throughout the solar system: Venus, Mars, Saturn’s satellites: Mimas, Tethys, Dione, Rea, and Uranus’ satellites: Ariel, Titania, Oberon, totaling in 118 chasmata. On Venus they are named after Goddesses of hunt and moon goddesses. Our Indonesian chasma is Rabie Chasma. Rabie is one of three divine girls, Mulua Satene, Mulua Rabie, and Mulua Hainuwele. While Mulua Hainuwele lives as coconut and crops and Mulua Satene governs kingdom of death, Mulua Rabie lives as moon in the sky and marries the sun. Other myth tells that Rabie is a girl kidnapped by Tuwale (Sun) as a bride and becoming the moon. From this marriage, human was born. Other tale about The Moon and The Sun marriage in West Seram is that the Sun catches the Moon, making it smaller and smaller. Despite of that, they are inseparable, and the Moon ended up looking for the Sun and getting bigger and bigger and meet at full moon. (Also Hadiwijono, 2000 which is a mine for this research, really)
Craters, circular depression likely created by impact event, on Venus are named over women names. Famous women, if they are over 20 km in diameter, first names, if they are less than 20 km in diameter. Although Indonesian aren’t exactly having first names the way other culture’s nomenclature do, they are two Indonesian names appearing as Venusian craters. Retno Craters and Sartika Craters. Retno/ Retna is a Javanese name (remembering my high school friend, Retno), meaning sight, while Sartika is based on Dewi Sartika, a women empowerment figure in Indonesia, founded school for women and acknowledged as National Hero. It also means bravery.
Vallis (plural: Valles) is Latin for valley, for valley-like features in Mars, believed to be caused by water. In Mars, large valles are named upon Mars/ star in various languages and small valles are named upon classical or modern names of rivers.
Al-Qahira Vallis entry explanation is clearly written as “Word for ‘Mars’ in Arabic, Indonesian, Malay” I know that it was called Marikh in Malay and even in Arabic and Anggaraka in Sanskrit-Javanese, but as an Indonesian I never once call Mars with Al-Qahira. Apparently Al-Qahira/ Al-Qahirah (planning to write the arabic but the formatting was a mess) was the old name for Cairo. Al-Qahirah itself means “The Defeater” or “Mars the Victorious”, referencing the fact that Mars (“Al Najm al Qahir”, no arabic writing as well here. lit: Omnipotent Star, hopefully my arabic translation’s correct) was rising when the city was founded in August 969 AD. Source1, Source2. Also mentioned in Horoscopes of Africa, Marc Penfield (2008)). There is also Marikh Vallis, by the way (I count it as Malaysian so it’s not in this article).
Large craters on Mars are named after Mars scientists and writers writing about Mars. There are no Indonesian example for large craters. Small craters, though, are named based on villages of the world with a population of less than 100000. There are four Indonesian “villages” honoured to be parts of Martian craters.
Gah is a village in Tutuk Tolu district, East Seram Regency, Maluku (around -3.4986794,130.6129825). I don’t know the population there, but it’s a village, I suppose it’s under 100000. Sigli is a capital district of Pidie Regency, Aceh Special Province, 112 km east of Banda Aceh. Previously it’s the biggest train workshop in Aceh, but now is not as populous. Even that, the population is still amounted of 330359 (2015). As it’s named in 1976, maybe back then the population was not as many despite of the train workshop?
Tarakan is the biggest city in North Kalimantan Province, and also the 17th richest city in Indonesia. The population is 239787 (2011), so less than 100000 people in 1976 should be possible. Tomini is an area in Central Sulawesi, located near Gulf of Tomini, the biggest gulf in Indonesia, approximately 59.500 km2,. There’s an annual event Sail Tomini Event held around the area.
Ceres is named after Goddess of agriculture, grain crops, fertility, and motherly relationship (and a brand of famous muisjes I miss), what’s more appropriate than naming its features using agricultural god and goddesses around the world. As an agricultural country, Indonesia definitely contributes a few. Omonga Crater is based on a rice spirit from Tomori/ Mori.
… patch of rice are tied together into a sheaf, which is called “the Mother of the Rice” (ineno pae), and offerings in the shape of rice, fowl’s liver, eggs, and other things are laid down before it. When all the rest of the rice in the field has been reaped, “the Mother of the Rice” is cut down and carried with due honour to the rice-barn, where it is laid on the floor, and all the other sheaves are piled upon it… (The Golden Bough by James Frazer (1998)
… Without these ceremonies there would be no rice the following year. The spirit has to be treated with proper respect. If the people who fetch the rice from the barn are not properly clad, Omonga will become angry and eat up twice the amount of rice as they have taken out. (Micha F. Lindeman)
… some people have heard him smacking his lips in the barn, as he devoured the rice (Frazer, 1998)
Indonesia is full of rice stealing spirits its seem, as Tibong is also represented as a crater. Tibong “come slily and devour the rice which is stored within a receptacle made of the bark of some gigantic tree, and is in the form of a vat. It is kept in the garrets of the houses, and a large one will contain a hundred and fifty bushels, and the family live in constant fear that these voracious spirits will visit their store and entirely consume it.”
253 Mathilde is an 50-km wide asteroid located in the asteroid belt, and the largest asteroid to be visited by a spacecraft. In its flyby, NEAR Shoemaker pictured large craters marring the asteroid’s surface. As it’s very dark, with an albedo comparable to fresh asphalts, maybe that’s the inspiration of its craters nomenclature, coal fields and basins around the world. From all the coal fields in Indonesia, Kalimantan (which is mostly the island’s name, though it truly has a lot of coal fields) is used. But maybe it’s intentional(?) as Kalimantan was originally coming from Kalamanthana in Sankskrit, which is “burning” weather island (though mostly it’s talking about the weather).
Rhea is the mother of gods, so Saturn’s moon Rhea features are mostly named after people and places from creation myths. Ameta Crater is named after a man named Ameta, who’s taking a never-before-seen in the Seram island, coconut, stuck in a tusk of a wild boar home. Because of a dream, he planted the coconut, which grew very tall in spare of days. When he collected the coconut sap, he slashed his finger, and his blood dropped onto a blossom. Hainuwele, a girl able to produces valuables, (the same Hainuwele with the Rabie story above) appeared in the place of the blossom. Because of their jealousy, the villagers killed and buried her. Finding her corpse, he reburied Hainuwele in pieces around the village. From that sprouted a lot of useful plants, including tuber (apparently I need to thank this story for all the cassava chips I eat(?))
Lowalangi crater is based on Lowalangi, The god of the sky and winds among the Nias of Indonesia. He is the creator of the human race and bestows upon them souls or breath. Of each person that is born he inquires what he wishes to be or to do on earth. He is the younger son of Ina-da Samadulo Höse, the mother of the gods who had two sets of mixed twins. Lowalangi married the twin of Latura, his elder brother, and with her became the ancestor of the human race. (Micha F. Lindemans. Source)
Tuwale Crater is based on Tuwale the Sun God, we have talked about him before in Rabie’s story.
Titan, the largest moon of Saturn, is named after the Titans, race of powerful deieties. The name of its features, however, is rather varied.
Fluctus are terrains covered by outflow of liquid. Fluctus can be found on Venus, Io and Titan. In Titan are named after gods and goddesses of beauty. Winia fluctus is named after Winia, a very beautiful woman from Seram and Gorom’s creation myth. She appeared from a tree together with a pig, which she left out when she’s climbing the tree. Other woman named Kilibaban came using a raft from Papua and ended up taking the pig. There come a man, who’s fishing and removing his clothing as he’s unaware of the two women. Hearing laughter, he chased the source, finding Kilibaban, who rejected his proposal of marriage and pointing to the tree where’s Winia’s hiding. Winia received the man’s proposal and they ended up as the ancestor of humankind. (Source)