Posts Tagged ‘Pluto’

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What am I McNaming?

March 6, 2017

NASA asks people to suggest names for their newly discovered exoplanets — hilarity ensues

Learning nothing from the Boaty McBoatface incident, researchers have again come to ask the public to name things. This time, it’s NASA asking people for suggestions on how to name the newly discovered 7 planets of the Trappist system. Still, the Internet has come up with a wonderful mix of suggestions ranging from trollish or tongue-in-cheek, all the way to some that might actually get picked by the agency.

c5c5jh-usaat6w2-1Image credits NASA.

The Internet doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to naming things. Just last March, UK’s Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) invited people to vote on what name their newest arctic research vessel should be christened with. NERC went with RRS Sir David Attenborough in recognition to the world famous UK naturalist and broadcaster — but that’s not what the public voted for. Oh no.

After former BBC Radio Jersey presenter James Hand jokingly suggested the council should go with Boaty McBoatface, the suggestion picked up a huge number of votes, quickly becoming the most popular name. Thankfully for the NERC, they announced from the beginning that the poll was non-binding in nature so they could opt for what they considered a “more appropriate” name.

Now, NASA is the one to call upon the collective creativity of the Internet to name the seven exoplanets whose discovery they announced in February. As of now, they’re known by their placeholder names of Trappist-1b to h.

It was a simple request, but one bound to run into the same problems as NERC’s vote. Some suggestions were simply funny, we’ve seen some nods to cultural references, and some suggestions that might actually make it. And surely enough, “Planet McPlanetface” made it in the suggestions.

Planet McPlanetface
Moonie McMoonface
Rocky McRockface
Icy McIceface
Dusty McDustface
Gasy McGasface
Wanda

__________________

Earth 2
Earth 2s
Earth 2s Plus
Earth 2s Plus 128GB
Earth 2s Plus 128GB Black
Earth 2s Plus 128GB Rose Gold
Earth 3

Rumors say the new planets will have universal docking ports. We’ll have to wait and see. And, talking about planets that NASA says aren’t ‘really’ planets:

Planet Fitness
Planet Hollywood
Captain Planet
Planet of the Apes
Planet Coaster
Pizza Planet
Pluto

There’s also a lot of cultural referencing going on, with the names of great houses from Game of Thrones being suggested, the dwarfs’ names in Snow White, as well as nods to the Harry Potter books. But this one I enjoyed the most:

A New Hope
Empire Strikes Back
Return of the Jedi
The Force Awakens
then routinely deny the other three exist

Some users have also pointed out the connection to Belgian beers of the same name, suggesting the planets be named after the Trappist breweries.

As the original Trappists, easy!
Achel, Chimay, La Trappe, Orval, Rochefort, Westmalle and Westvleteren

Some users view the christenings as an opportunity to those who have sacrificed in humanity’s efforts to reach for the stars — several tweets call for the planets to be named for the seven astronauts who lost their lives aboard the Challenger in 1986.

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Seeing the generally light-hearted way and humorous these suggestions are being suggested on Twitter, it’s unlikely that NASA will actually go with any of them. Ultimately however, the decision lies with the International Astronomical Union, and it may still surprise us in the end. Which means there’s still a tiny hope for Pluto.

 

Reposted from ZME Science

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What do I find super cool?

July 15, 2015

supercool

Shamelessly stolen from HMS Defiant

I am looking forward to the images to come.

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April 29, 2015

I always thought it was remarkable that astronomers found little, bitty Pluto at all – and now we are getting color photos of Pluto and Charon.  Captured by Ralph and Alice – perfect.

plutocharon_colorPluto and Charon photographed by the cameras Ralph and Alice on the New Horizons spacecraft.

In a historic first – just one of many that will be made over the next several months, to be sure! – the New Horizons spacecraft captured its first color image of Pluto and its partner/satellite Charon on April 9 from a distance of 71 million miles – about equivalent to that between Venus and the Sun. The orange blobs above are the two worlds locked in an orbital dance a mere 12,200 miles apart… that’s 20 times less than the distance between Earth and the Moon!The image was captured with New Horizons’ “Ralph” instrument, a Multispectral Visible Imaging Camera (MVIC) built for the mission by Ball Aerospace (which is a spinoff of the same company that became famous in the U.S. for its glass canning jars.)

Ralph is one of six science instruments aboard New Horizons; it is paired with “Alice,” an ultraviolet imaging camera. (Think Ralph and Alice Kramden.) When New Horizons makes its close pass by Pluto and Charon on July 14 these cameras will capture details of the icy worlds like never before seen.

plutocharon1

Ralph will be the main eyes for New Horizons during its July flyby. it will capture images of Pluto’s surface to a resolution of 250 meters (850 feet) per pixel and also be able to map surface temperatures as well as scan for the presence of nitrogen, water, and carbon monoxide.

“This is pure exploration; we’re going to turn points of light into a planet and a system of moons before your eyes!” said Alan Stern, New Horizons principal investigator from Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) in Boulder, Colorado. “New Horizons is flying to Pluto — the biggest, brightest and most complex of the dwarf planets in the Kuiper Belt. This 21st century encounter is going to be an exploration bonanza unparalleled in anticipation since the storied missions of Voyager in the 1980s.”

Read more: Closing In on Pluto: An Interview with Principal Investigator Alan Stern

Traveling over 31,000 mph New Horizons is now within 1 AU of Pluto and Charon and getting closer every day, every hour, every second. This image is only a hint at what we’ll soon be seeing from this far-flung member of our planetary family!

Read more on the New Horizons mission site here.

This post is reblogged from Lights in the Dark – thanks.

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What is tattoo Tuesday about?

February 18, 2014

On February 18, 1930, Clyde W. Tombaugh, an assistant at the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona, discovered Pluto. For over seven decades, Pluto was considered the ninth planet of our solar system.

Now we know that is not the case.

This video was made by C G P Grey.

Pluto may not be a planet (one less object to memorize in elementary science class!), but it is the basis for some interesting tattoos:

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pluto3That’s Pluto up there at the top.

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Still mourning the fact that Pluto is not a planet?  As Neil deGrasse Tyson says, “Get over it!”