Monday, August 01, 2005

The Naming of Planets is a Difficult Matter..

For what it's worth (some folks take Wikipedia entries with grains of salt), here's their history on the naming of the planet Pluto
"In the matter of Pluto the discretion of naming the new object belonged to Lowell Observatory and its director, Vesto Melvin Slipher, who, in the words of Tombaugh, was "urged to suggest a name for the new planet before someone else did". Soon suggestions began to pour in from all over the world. Constance Lowell, Percival's widow who had delayed the search through her lawsuit, proposed Zeus, then Lowell, and finally her own first name, none of which met with any enthusiasm. One young couple even wrote to ask that the planet be named after their newborn child. Mythological names were much to the fore: Cronus and Minerva (proposed by the New York Times, unaware that it had been proposed for Uranus some 150 years earlier) were high on the list. Also there were Artemis, Athene, Atlas, Cosmos, Hera, Hercules, Icarus, Idana, Odin, Pax, Persephone, Perseus, Prometheus, Tantalus, Vulcan, Zymal, and many more. One complication was that many of the mythological names had already been allotted to the numerous asteroids. Virtually all the female names had been used up, and male names were usually reserved for objects with unusual orbits.

The name retained for the planet is that of the Roman god Pluto, and it is also intended to evoke the initials of the astronomer Percival Lowell, who predicted that a planet would be found beyond Neptune. The name was first suggested by Venetia Burney, at the time an eleven-year-old girl from Oxford, England. Over the breakfast table, one morning her grandfather, who worked at Oxford University's Bodleian Library, was reading about the discovery of the new planet in the Times newspaper. He asked his grandaughter what she thought would be good name for it. Venetia thought that as it was so cold and so distant it should be named after the Roman God of the underworld. This idea was mentioned by her grandfather to a former Astronomer Royal who cabled his astronomer colleagues in America. After favourable consideration which was almost unanimous, the name Pluto was officially adopted and an announcement made by Slipher on May 1, 1930."
However, I'll be damned if they call it "Mondas".

I think now I'm going for Melmac. Or maybe Orc.

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