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General Astronomy >> General Observing and Astronomy

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Bill Steen
member


Reged: 12/15/12

Re: Most Poorly Named Night Sky Object? [Re: davidpitre]
      #5879227 - 05/22/13 10:45 PM

I actually like the name, "Moon," except that I like to break it into two sylables instead of one!

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Dan Finnerty
sage


Reged: 09/11/11

Loc: Pasadena, CA
Re: Most Poorly Named Night Sky Object? new [Re: kfiscus]
      #5882234 - 05/24/13 12:45 PM

The Heavens?

Come on, get real! -270 degrees centigrade, you will freeze your parts off! Solar flares, radiation storms. Attacking asteroids, planet-destroying harbinger Comets. Galactic Cosmic Rays giving us all cancer. Neutron stars. Supernovas, gamma rays, x-rays, extreme UltraViolet sunburns. Interstellar shock waves, synchrotron radiation. Galactic cannibalism, super-massive galaxy-eating black holes. Dark Matter. Dark Energy. Cosmic Inflation. It goes on and on. It is utter hell out there!

All in all, I feel pretty lucky to be right here on earth. There is no place like home!


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careysub
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 02/18/11

Loc: Rancho Cucamonga, CA
Re: Most Poorly Named Night Sky Object? new [Re: Classic8]
      #5882299 - 05/24/13 01:16 PM

Quote:

"The Moon". Rather creative. All the other ones in the solar system have a name.




Ahem. Lets keep our astronomical and linguistic history straight.

"Moon" is the proper name in English of the body we see so bright in the sky and always has been as long as English itself has existed.

The reason that we refer to all those other bodies orbiting other planets "moons" (small "m") is by analogy with our Moon, which were all discovered after Copernicus had explained the true relationship between the Earth and the Moon. This does nothing to detract from the Moon's own name.

"Luna" is another proper name for the Moon, in Latin (other languages have names as well).


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CollinofAlabama
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 11/24/03

Loc: Lubbock, Texas, USA
Re: Most Poorly Named Night Sky Object? new [Re: RogueGazer]
      #5884139 - 05/25/13 02:52 PM

+1

(Your what!?)

In this particular case, they should have moved over to Greek. I know it's not the standard, but Ouranos doesn't sound like a
human orifice involving stench production. I love Latin. Fantastic language to sing in, but about the 7th planet and father of Saturn, Kyrie Eleison.

Edited by CollinofAlabama (05/26/13 11:02 AM)


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Classic8
professor emeritus


Reged: 04/12/06

Loc: Naperville, IL, USA
Re: Most Poorly Named Night Sky Object? new [Re: careysub]
      #5886880 - 05/27/13 11:09 AM

Quote:

Quote:

"The Moon". Rather creative. All the other ones in the solar system have a name.




Ahem. Lets keep our astronomical and linguistic history straight.

"Moon" is the proper name in English of the body we see so bright in the sky and always has been as long as English itself has existed.

The reason that we refer to all those other bodies orbiting other planets "moons" (small "m") is by analogy with our Moon, which were all discovered after Copernicus had explained the true relationship between the Earth and the Moon. This does nothing to detract from the Moon's own name.

"Luna" is another proper name for the Moon, in Latin (other languages have names as well).




Well, we don't call it "Moon", we call it "The Moon" as if there is only 1, when there are hundreds in the solar system, and all the major ones and most of the minor ones have Greek names. No big deal, just seems inconsistent, although obviously "The Moon" has been known about a lot longer.


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ensign
professor emeritus


Reged: 12/16/08

Loc: Southwestern Ontario
Re: Most Poorly Named Night Sky Object? new [Re: Classic8]
      #5887043 - 05/27/13 12:47 PM

What about Sagittarius? An archer? Really? I don't see an archer there.

Nearly everyone I know refers to the "teapot." Perhaps we could use a suitable Latin word. But since, I am told, the Romans did not drink tea (uncivilized savages that they were, although apparently modern Italians love their tea) and therefore did not have teapots or any such word, perhaps we could use the word "Amphora" - a wine pot - instead.


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CollinofAlabama
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 11/24/03

Loc: Lubbock, Texas, USA
Re: Most Poorly Named Night Sky Object? new [Re: ensign]
      #5890043 - 05/28/13 11:59 PM

I agree with you about Sagittarius being "The Teapot" and not finding an Archer there at all. Kind of unusual. I think everyone, when realizing the shape of the rest of the four legged creature clearly in the sky, will agree that Ursa Major does indeed look like a critter. Personally, I think it looks more like a leopard, kind of skinny with that long, distinctively un-bear-like tail, but since both North American Indians AND the ancient Greeks called it a bear, what the heck. Maybe a cosmic pin-the-tail-on-the-bear Jehovah or, maybe Uranus (sorry, couldn't resist!), put on him? In the suburbs, without the extra, fainter stars handy, it's clearly a Big Dipper, and that's all. Likewise, Cygnus is "The Northern Cross" in the suburbs, but in the country, swan-city (ha!).

But Sagittarius at a dark sky site is still just the Teapot. There are a few extra drops around it, maybe, but a Centaur shooting an arrow at the heart of the Scorpion? Dude, we don't have that kind of smoke anymore.


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Ed Holland
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 06/16/10

Loc: San Jose, CA and Oxford, UK
Re: Most Poorly Named Night Sky Object? new [Re: CollinofAlabama]
      #5892540 - 05/30/13 02:08 PM

The big dipper. Quite clearly, it is the Plough

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CollinofAlabama
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 11/24/03

Loc: Lubbock, Texas, USA
Re: Most Poorly Named Night Sky Object? new [Re: Ed Holland]
      #5892921 - 05/30/13 05:20 PM

Well, I think you mean "plow", as Mr. Webster would have you write to replace the Chaucerian spelling you Brits prefer with another form of obsoleted pre-Great Vowel Shift spelling we Americans have "corrected" you with. But "the Plough", why heavens no! It most certainly does not look like a plow, but it does indeed look like a "gourd" as the Underground Railroad taught southern US slaves to seek out to find Polaris on their journey to freedom. One dips water with it (or spills it all over the north in the late Spring). This is clear. A plow? Don't see it. I'm not a farmer, but it still looks much more like a water dipper than anyone's plow. Of course, under a dark sky it's a leopard, or a pin-the-tail-on-the-bear by "your-know-who" (see above).

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Ed Holland
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 06/16/10

Loc: San Jose, CA and Oxford, UK
Re: Most Poorly Named Night Sky Object? new [Re: CollinofAlabama]
      #5893331 - 05/30/13 09:41 PM

Plow, plough, take your pick. This naming, I believe follows the shape of horse/oxen drawn farm equipment, which would be guided from behind by the farmer via a long handle, extending upward from the part which works the soil. The Plough's handle and that of the Dipper are considered to be depicted by the same stars.

fun stuff.


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Tony Flanders
Postmaster
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Reged: 05/18/06

Loc: Cambridge, MA, USA
Re: Most Poorly Named Night Sky Object? new [Re: Ed Holland]
      #5893335 - 05/30/13 09:42 PM

Quote:

The big dipper. Quite clearly, it is the Plough




I find it quite natural to see this as a dipper, a plow, or a wagon. But what about its other ancient name, the Great Bear?

If you visualize this as an animal, its most prominent feature is its tail. And of all large mammals, which ones don't have long tails? Apes and bears -- that's pretty much it. So exactly why is this constellation a bear? Nobody knows, but the name dates back to prehistory.


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Skylook123
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Reged: 04/30/05

Loc: Tucson, AZ
Re: Most Poorly Named Night Sky Object? new [Re: Tony Flanders]
      #5893565 - 05/31/13 02:20 AM

But some near and far east cultures see an elephant, not a plough, plow, dipper, or bear aft end. The elephant asterism features in some creation myths, so I include that representation in my sky tours. Amazing sounds of "Oh Yeah" this time of hear as the elephant rides high. And at least one culture I've heard of sees the tail of the bear running all the way to Arcturus, and Bootes is not only herding the bears, he's using the connection from Arcturus to Alkaid as The Rudder, used to keep the calendar moving such that the sun ends in Virgo for the harvest. If you have a bad harvest, it's not because you are an inadequate farmer, it's because Bootes must have somehow mis-timed his movement of the calendar so the sun was not quite pleasing the goddess of fertility, Virgo.

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CollinofAlabama
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 11/24/03

Loc: Lubbock, Texas, USA
Re: Most Poorly Named Night Sky Object? new [Re: Skylook123]
      #5895430 - 06/01/13 02:10 AM

Those ancient farmers needed crop insurance. Of course, I guess that's what that whole Bootes' fault story is. Something to tell the wife after the crop fails.

Out tonight and I had my laser pointer delineating a thing or two, Leo, Corvus the trapezoid, but especially the Great Leopard, Ursa Major. That is one long, thin feline. Elephant? Bear? No way. Much too long and sleek. And the tail gives it away. But who am I to disagree with the ancient Greeks, American Indians, and Tevia. Tradition!


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bumm
sage


Reged: 01/07/11

Loc: Iowa
Re: Most Poorly Named Night Sky Object? new [Re: CollinofAlabama]
      #5897135 - 06/02/13 12:56 AM

In at least some of the American Indian legends, the tail of the bear are three braves chasing it around the pole. Makes more sense than a long tail... Very interesting though, how widely separated cultures call it a bear, when there's really no resemblance at all. Must go WAY back...
Marty


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bumm
sage


Reged: 01/07/11

Loc: Iowa
Re: Most Poorly Named Night Sky Object? new [Re: bumm]
      #5897139 - 06/02/13 01:00 AM

OH... and it'd make a better plow if Dubhe wasn't there...
Marty


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