The New Zealand Geographic Board' />

Two previously unnamed South Island mountains have been named after two of New Zealand's most famous scientists.

The New Zealand Geographic Board has named two prominent mountains in the Kepler Mountains in Fiordland after Beatrice Tinsley and Sir William Pickering.

Mt Pickering is a 1650m mountain 20km west of Te Anau and Mt Tinsley is 1537m and 15km west of Te Anau.

Dr Pickering was the director of Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena and led the development of US unmanned space exploration, including the first US satellite, Explorer 1, the first successful American around-the-moon probe, Pioneer IV, the Mariner flights to Venus and Mars in the 1960s, the Ranger photographic missions to the moon and the Surveyor lunar landings of 1966-67.

Dr Pickering died in 2004 aged 93.

Dr Tinsley's thesis Evolution of Galaxies and its Significance for Cosmology contributed largely to the astronomical understanding over how galaxies change over time and formed the basis for contemporary studies of galactic evolution.

She was born in England but grew up in Christchurch and New Plymouth and attended the University of Christchurch.

Dr Tinsley died in 1981 aged only 40.

The Kepler Mountains are named after 17th Century German astronomer Johannes Kepler.