IAU, Pluto, and naming P5

IAU, Pluto, and naming P5

The 2012 meeting of the International Astronomical Union is about to begin in Beijing, China. I’ll be attending the second week of the meeting, and talking on the very last day (yikes!) The 2 constant questions about IAU are “Will Pluto get back its planethood?” and “what new objects might get named?” Well, no one is rumoring that the dwarf planet issue will come back up, so I think we’re going to have to go with “Dwarf Planet” or “Planet Classic” for a few more years. On the naming front, I see Pluto’s new moons possibly getting a few new titles, and it’s possible a few more objects might get approved. The issue of naming things is more complicated in some ways and not complicated in others...

Read More

Red August: A Mars Month

Red August: A Mars Month

The month of August is named after Augustus Ceasar, the Roman Emperor who oversaw the expansion of the Roman Empire in the years after Julius Ceasar’s death on the Ides of March, and even Jesus Christ is said historically to have reminded people to render unto this particular Emperor what is his. This means that August might should stay Augustus’ month… but Mars keeps trying to leave it’s mark on this particular arc of Earth’s orbit. In August 1975, Viking 1 launched toward Mars, marking the beginning of the Viking missions. In August 1976, Viking 2 entered orbit of Mars, marking the safe arrival of the both spacecraft. In August 1980, after 1400 orbits, the longer living Viking 1 orbiter was finally shut down. In August 2003, we saw...

Read More
Now live! Expect the Unexpected.
Currently offline.