31 Planets Were Just Re-Named After Astronomers, Poltergeists, Don Quixote, and More

Tuesday, 15 December 2015 - 4:32PM
Astronomy
Tuesday, 15 December 2015 - 4:32PM
31 Planets Were Just Re-Named After Astronomers, Poltergeists, Don Quixote, and More
The International Astronomical Union just held their first public vote to rename 31 exoplanets and 14 stars, with nominations submitted by astronomy societies all over the world. Unfortunately, none of the truly geeky options won, like Game of Thrones or Hal 1000, but there were a few fun choices that made the cut, including astronomers, classic characters from literature, and lots of Norse mythology.

The star formerly named 55 Cancri is now called Copernicus, and its exoplanets are named after prominent astronomers throughout history, including Galileo, Tycho Brahe, Thomas Harriot, and Hans Lippershey. There's also a whole star system entirely named after Don Quixote characters (Quijote, Dulcinea, Rocinante, and Sancho), while the star was renamed Cervantes, after the author. 

There's a ton of mythological characters peppered throughout, particularly from Greek and Norse mythology. The star Lich, for example, which is itself named after a fictional undead creature from Norse cultures, had its planets renamed Poltergeist, Draugr, an undead creature from Norse mythology, and Phobetor, the Greek mythological deity for nightmares. 

And finally, there's the planet named Dagon, which orbits the star alpha Pisces Austrini. Dagon is actually a reference to an ancient Syrian fish god, but I like to think it's a reference to the Dagon sphere on Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Via Popular Science

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