Tuesday September 12, 2006

They've Given You a Number...

Former planet Pluto is now minor planet number 134340.  (That's the numbering system used for asteroids, as opposed to periodic comets.)


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Yes, it's sad, but we should be grateful to Pluto for its sacrifice. Any price was worth paying to prevent "Xena" from becoming a planet.

Posted by: includedmiddle at Sep 12, 2006 4:43:02 PM

"Xena" was an internal tracking code name, and not the name proposed to the IAU, which is still secret, but which is probably a Californian Native American creator deity name like Quaoar.

Posted by: Greg Morrow at Sep 13, 2006 7:18:35 AM

By the time the official name is released, the public will already know it as and be calling it Xena. That name will stick, especially since nobody can pronounce the names of Native American creator dieties anyway.

Posted by: includedmiddle at Sep 13, 2006 10:05:05 AM

"Former planet Pluto is now minor planet number 134340" in the IAU style guide. Like any organization, the IAU is entitled to whatever house style it wishes. This imposes no obligation on any other entity to follow that style.

Posted by: Doug Sundseth at Sep 13, 2006 11:01:37 AM

"Secret agent man ... secret agent man ...
They've given you a number and they've taken away your name...."

Well, the Pluto/Charon system, now modified, still holds a place in my heart.

Xena and Gabrielle do too, oddly.

Posted by: Patricia Mathews at Sep 13, 2006 12:58:14 PM