Odd Names of Solar System Bodies
We are pretty used to the names of the major objects in our Solar System. Most names are taken from Greek mythology, such as Jupiter, Saturn, Venus, Mercury, Mars, Uranus, Pluto, vnd Neptune. There are many more objects named however, and some of them quite odd.
- Ganymede, a moon of Jupiter. The name is from the Greek Ganymēdēs, Latin Ganymedes, or Catamitus, in Greek legend, was the son of Tros (or Laomedon), king of Troy. Because of his unusual beauty, he was carried off either by the gods or by Zeus, disguised as an eagle, or, according to a Cretan account, by Minos, to serve as cupbearer. In compensation, Zeus gave Ganymede’s father a stud of immortal horses (or a golden vine). The earliest forms of the myth have no erotic content, but by the 5th century
BCE it was believed that Ganymede’s kidnapper had a homosexual passion for him; Ganymede’s kidnapping was a popular topic on 5th-century Attic vases. The English word catamite was derived from the popular Latin form of his name. He was later identified with the constellation Aquarius.
- Mister Spock Asteroid. Not what you were thinking here. This has nothing to do with the Star Wars character. In fact, this was named after the pet of discoverer James B. Gibson. The recent sad loss of photographer, director and actor Leonard Nimoy is most keenly felt by the millions of fans who loved the sci-fi character he shall always be most closely associated with—Star Trek‘s coolly logical and pointy-eared Vulcan science officer, Mr. Spock. As befits someone who toured the fictional Galaxy furthering scientific knowledge, astronomers have a tangible reminder of the starship Enterprise‘s first officer in the form of an asteroid that will always bear his name. James B. Gibson discovered 2309 Mr. Spock (1971 QX1) from Yale-Columbia Station at El Leoncito, Argentina on 16th August 1971. It soon became apparent that this was a main-belt asteroid between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, orbiting 3 astronomical units from the Sun every 5.23 years. Subsequent analysis revealed that 2309 Mr. Spock is a 13-mile (21-kilometre)-wide body rotating on its axis every 6.7 hours. zktin-belt asteroid 2309 Mr. Spock (1971 QX1) is a 13-mile-wide body rotating on its axis every 6.7 hours that orbits 3 astronomical units from the Sun every 5.23 years. Currently 17th magnitude in the constellation of Taurus, it’s still a viable astrophotographic target for 10-inch telescopes and larger. This is a two-minute ISO1600 exposure at f/2 with a C11 and DSLR on 10th March at 21:15 UT. Image credit: Ade Ashford. Live long and pros-purr.
- James Bond. This is a numbered minor planet, discovered October 5, 1983. It is classified as an inner planet
- Tom Hanks. Asteroid 12818 Tomhanks swung within about 151 million miles of Earth on Sept. 12, while 8353 Megryan came about 191 million miles away on Sept. 27. Neither came closer than the distance between the Earth and the sun, and they did not pose any risk to our planet. A lot of scientists have named asteroids after their favorite celebrities, and considering Tom Hanks is somewhat of a favorite (read, Apollo 13) among astronauts, he makes the cut. However, Tom isn’t the only star to have an asteroid named after him. There’s Meg Ryan, Chaplin, and Van Damme among others.
- Monty Python. The hilarious British comedy troupe are so famous among the astronauts that each member of the crew also have an asteroid named after them.
- Makemake sounds like the most delicious Japanese snack ever. Would make for the perfect dwarf planet wouldn’t it?
- Beowulf Asteroid. Asteroid 38086, Beowolf, was discovered on May 5, 1999 by the Lowell Observatory Near-Earth Object Search (LONEOS) at the Anderson Mesa Station of Lowell Observatory near Flagstaff, Arizona. It has a period of 1 years, 253 days. It was named for the great Scandinavian warrior Beowulf, hero of the early medieval British epic poem.
- (7470) Jabberwock is a main-asteroid of the main belt, discovered on May 2, 1991 by the Japanese astronomer Takeshi Urata at the Nihondaira Observatory.The asteroid is part of the Vesta family, a large group of asteroids. (7470) Jabberwock was named after the mystical creature Jabberwock, the main theme of the classic nonsense poem Jabberwocky from the story Through the Looking Glass, by Lewis Carroll.
- Petit-Princebelt. This prince is so petite that it’s not even an asteroid. 45 Eugenia has a moon called Petit-Prince, named after Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince. The children’s book follows the exploits of a boy who lived on an asteroid and explored other asteroids, as well as Earth.
- Adam Curry. Discovered Marcy 20, 1998 and named for the infamous Adam Curry
- This minor planet was named after Amol Aggarwal, who won the Intel Science Talent search in California in 2011, and got the planet as a prize. This isn’t the only Indian named, however. There’s Bhasin, B\att, Bhattacharya, and Yogeshwar. All these planets have been named by the scientists who discovered them.
- Anandapadmanabum. A Solar System small body, 30269 Anandapadmanaban (2000 HS50)
The list goes on to include: Ask, Bam, Babcock, Bacon, Beer, Brest, Hippo, Lust
All these minor objects do exist in real, and aren’t a figment of my imagination. The source is http://minorplanetcenter.net/.