The International Astronomical Union is at it again.

I wrote a while ago about the campaign to name one of Pluto’s five moons “Vulcan.”

Pluto's solar system in a 2012 artist's conception. P4 and P5 are now called Kerberos and Styx, respectively. Credit: NASA/John Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory

However, the International Astronomical Union has once again thwarted anyone else from participating in their closed group. 

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So, Kerberos and Styx are the new names for Pluto’s moons (formerly known as P4 and P5).  Although both names were popular in a public naming contest last year, they paled in comparison to the Captain Kirk (William Shatner) led vote for Vulcan.

 

Supposedly: “The IAU gave serious consideration to this name, which happens to be shared by the Roman god of volcanoes. However, because that name has already been used in astronomy, and because the Roman god is not closely associated with Pluto, this proposal was rejected.”  

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However, a quick search of the shows that Vulcan was a god of the underworld.  So, once again, the great IAU messes up.  Really, do we expect our scientists to do actual research, or have the forgotten their purpose.  This is a trend that worries as much as sound bite politics, high school graduates that can’t make change at a register and the general destruction of language to to social media and the inability for those under 30 to make a complete sentence using grown up words instead of R U K?

Extremes on both side make me want to retire from humanity.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property / patent attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +

Norman

 

What’s in a name?

If you are a member of the International Astronomical Union (IAU), alot. With the large amounts of exoplanets being discovered a subtle, but important issue has arrisen. What do we call all those planets?

Right now there is the “official” name (something boring like 51 Pegasi b, or PSR B1620-26 c) and then there is the rest of the world. Some have suggested that the IAU is trying to claim naming right to the whole Universe, other say that they are simply trying to claim the whole Universe.

I don’t think either of those are the case, but I do believe that the IAU needs to be overhauled. I mean they still can’t tell me what a planet is, this of course goes back to my arguement that Pluto is a planet (go New Horizons!). But that is only one example of how out of touch the IAU seems to be with the rest of the world.

We regularly have scientists that are members of the IAU or others that attend the meetings speak at our astronomical societies meetings (always open to the public!). After speaking with many of them, I have discovered that most of them have seen some of the pictures from Hubble, but don’t actually go out and observe the night sky in all its splendor. It is a shame, but most of them are crunching numbers and actually only know the Universe that way.

Perhaps it is time that the scientists came out of the lab and met with the rest of the Universe, up close and personal. Perhaps even talking to a few non-scientists (I find children under the age of 12 extremely insightful) and see if that can’t expand there horizons.

So if you are like Uwingu and want to run a harmless contest to name some of the exo-planets, watch out the IAU will be issuing nasty retorts your way.

At least NASA gets it, after all they named the 5th moon around Pluto Vulcan after a twitter bomb by Shatner and Nimoy. Heck, even Colbert got a treadmill named after him on the ISS. Come on IAU, get with the program…engage the public…don’t push them away.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney. As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +. If you need help with any patent, trademark, or copyright issue, or know someone that can use my help, please contact me for a free 30 minute consultation by sending me an email or call TOLL FREE at 1-855-UR IDEAS (1-855-874-3327) and ask for Norman.

Norman