Celtic Diva's Blue Oasis: Geeks rule the world...the science world, at least!

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Geeks rule the world...the science world, at least!

Planet Xena is discovered to have a moon, so they name the "sidekick" Gabrielle.
The astronomers who claim to have discovered the 10th planet in the Earth's solar system have made another intriguing announcement: it has a moon.

While observing the new, so-called planet from Hawaii last month, a team of astronomers led by Michael Brown of the California Institute of Technology spotted a faint object trailing next to it. Because it was moving, astronomers ruled it was a moon and not a background star, which is stationary
I guess there is still some debate as to whether Xena fits the definition of a planet because there isn't an agreed-upon definition for a planet.
But the newly discovered moon, nicknamed Gabrielle after Xena's faithful traveling sidekick in the TV series, likely will not quell the debate over what exactly is a planet and whether Pluto should keep its status. The problem is there is no official definition for a planet and setting standards like size limits potentially invites other objects to take the "planet" label.

I was trying to think of a new sentence to help kids learn the order of the planets with an "X" tacked on the end, but then I read this:
The International Astronomical Union, a group of scientists responsible for naming planets, is deciding on formal names for Xena and Gabrielle.

Even astronomer Michael Brown (another one?) says the same thing:

We use these names internally simply because they are easier to say and remember than things like 2003 EL61 or S/2005 (2003 UB313). There is no chance whatsoever that these will become the permanent names of these objects!

This may be ONE issue that fans of the show can't influence with an avalanche of letters!


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