[meteorite-list] Naming the Universe

From: mexicodoug <mexicodoug_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Tue, 13 Nov 2007 13:06:43 -0600
Message-ID: <006b01c82628$56572c40$4001a8c0_at_MICASA>

Hi Larry,

Firstly, this post is intended to be in compliance with IAU's MPC which
information on names, designations, orbits, etc., are the intellectual
property of MPC and may not be shared openly in public strict policy except:
"Selected information extracted ... may be occasionally (NOT regularly) used
... actual quoting of no more than one or two sentences (or paraphrasing)
... reference to the source of the information is
acknowledged...Specifically, circulars must not be redistributed to Usenet
newsgroups or to e-mail lists..." [I interpret the selected extractions (but
not regular extraction, nor general circular redistribution) to be permitted
on the met-list]. This policy is needlessly restrictive in my opinion. If
the Meteoritical Society had the same policy, commercial use (even one
extracted statement posted here, and most all of our websites would be
infringing by using any classification information, for example. David's
site, without special permission, would be a super offender! For reasons we
can imagine, Proposed Asteroid name "Roberthaag" was refused to be allowed
by the MPC as a name. This gives me a great appreciation for the
Nomenclature Committee of the Met-Soc and the ability of scientists to
manage and work with non-professionals and the public. Sometimes we don't
appreciate the liberties we are given!


In 1999, when Pluto was actually the EIGHTH planet:

 http://www.cfa.harvard.edu/mpec/J99/J99C03.html :
"Next month, we shall pass #10,000 in what is a collection of small objects
... It is also very important to affirm that there is absolutely no implied
"demotion"...It has been traditional to have a special celebration with each
thousandth numbering...It has been traditional to have a special celebration
with each thousandth numbering."

This "honor" was thus "tendered". True?

Similar honors given at round numbers (Minor Planet Circular 19342?):

Asteroid #4,999 was named "MPC" by the MPC: "Named by the Minor Planet Names
Committee for the Minor Planet Circulars... The abbreviation also honors the
Minor Planet Center, which operates through IAU Commission 20 to issue the

The milestone Asteroid #5,000 was then celebrated by naming it "IAU" by the
MPC, to honor the "International Astronomical Union". By some induction,
twice as important as it would have been 10,000 Pluto?!

The legislating of extraterrestrial real estate that contributed to the
disgust felt by the entire world seeing the day the image of the fatherly
respected astronomer, and Clyde too, were plutoed on a greasy skewer
followed at the Pluto meeting.

Asteroid (110,000) Vendreuncanard?moiti?? ...Just a quick view of the
forest without seeing the oaks, elms and elders.

Last month, the public was told in a press release that asteroid Number
100,000 (OK minor solar system body) was designated Astronautica. The
chimeric astronomer stereotypes have thankfully returned as the kind and
corny professor image we love, via being vested as the sole authority to
name and rename the Solar System: Because 100,000 meters altitude is where
space begins. This is great news. According to the IAU and Harvard, the
MPC committee decided this honor for the 1 mile in diameter typical lump
(that one imagines also could have been Pluto's number). Astronautica means
and was chosen because:

"Typically the discoverer names the asteroid, but the committee sometimes
takes the initiative for special numbers," explained Marsden. "October 4,
2007 was an important anniversary, and we felt it was right to recognize it
this way. We wanted a name with a broad international appeal, so we chose
'Astronautica,' which comes from the Latin for 'star sailor.'"

Ref: http://www.cfa.harvard.edu/press/2007/pr200723.html

BTW, I would think "Astronautica" comes from the Greek "astron" and "nautes"
and "we have Latinized the Greek with "ica" it to agree with IAU policy".
and Kosmonautica would have been preferable given the Sputnik tie-in and
that these first 50 years have been in the kosmos, but not yet the stars
(astros)...but twithout any personal auspices for sure :-)

And back in 1999, asteroid 10,000 was named when Pluto himself rejected
being one of the myriad. MPC then playfully named Asteroid number 10,000
Myriostos. That's from Greek for myriad, "ten thousand things".

Paraphrasing: "You should have taken the 10,000 when we offered it to you,
tough luck, serves you right." was the pith for several unprofessional
participants during the Pluto debates of 2006. Does the gestalt strike you
as somewhat arrogant and give no doubt why the consternation and sullied
generalized images have materialized in the public?

I think that recent memo was unprofessional because:
(1) No one at the authority took responsibility, making AU Tomatic sign it
though an opinionated and aggressive editorial of blame, not "automated"
(2) The authority on naming then went on to blame others for not doing the
job the authority is responsible to do.
(3) The circular suggested that someone else should have listed Rosetta in
the file called "Space Junk"

Where I come from the person vested with this mission shirking
responsibility with these statements would be fired. It is obvious the
"astronomers are red-faced" for a reason. The above would seem
reprehensible- and indicative once again of the state of organization well
described in the flyer in the IAU. It isn't the Rosetta oversight that is
the problem at all, not for the heros at CSS. Please let me know why this
wouldn't be an unfair assessment in this discussion that only warrants
interpretations and vigorous opinions.

... and yeah!, the first one is on me :-)

Best Wishes,

----- Original Message -----
From: <lebofsky at lpl.arizona.edu>
To: "mexicodoug" <mexicodoug at aol.com>
Cc: <meteorite-list at meteoritecentral.com>
Sent: Monday, November 12, 2007 8:33 PM
Subject: Re: [meteorite-list] Rosetta gravity assist flyby

> Hello Doug:
> I take exception to your comments that this was either a screw-up or a
> joke. These are hard-working dedicated people, most of whom I have known
> for 20-30 years.
> I do not know all of the details, but when a "discovery" is made, the
> discoverers have access to a very large database of Small Solar System
> Bodies (asteroids and comets). Generally, things in orbit around the Earth
> have distinct enough orbits so that they are easily recognized. Not so for
> objects in heliocentric orbits (orbiting the Sun). In this case, an object
> was seen that appeared to be a Near-Earth Object that was about to make a
> close approach to the Earth and for which the database did not have the
> orbital elements. Thus, it was at first considered to be a new discovery.
> There are nearly 500,000 known asteroids (many with poorly known orbits)
> and about 5000 new ones are being discovered every month! Maintaining this
> database is not an easy task.
> Obviously, someone fairly quickly realized that this was not an asteroid,
> but Rosetta, but not before the alert went out for astronomers to make
> observations. The system worked!
> What did not work, as was pointed out by the Minor Planet Center, was that
> unless there is someone who is in a position to provide them with the
> orbital elements of Rosetta, there is no way that they can put this into
> their database. This is where the system failed. Actually it is impressive
> that the Catalina Survey people did see this "incoming asteroid" and shows
> how well they are covering the sky in order to locate any asteroids
> heading toward the Earth.
> However, Doug, Pluto and the IAU decision is another story that we should
> discuss over beers sometime.
> Larry Lebofsky
> On Mon, November 12, 2007 6:51 pm, mexicodoug wrote:
>> Hi Darren,
>> It certainly was an actual screw-up by the IAU. The joke I meant was by
>> Catalina Sky Survey, no matter what they say. You deserve a medal. Just
>> tell us you didn't look in the back of the book (or leave a Google crumb
>> path)! Clyde Tombaugh is is snickering in his grave at the foolish
>> bureaucracy that was arrogant enough to strip a true astronomer of his
>> life's crowning achievement to play word footsies...
>> Best wishes,
>> Doug.
>> ----- Original Message -----
>> From: "Darren Garrison" <cynapse at charter.net>
>> To: <meteorite-list at meteoritecentral.com>
>> Sent: Monday, November 12, 2007 6:13 PM
>> Subject: Re: [meteorite-list] Rosetta gravity assist flyby
>>> On Fri, 9 Nov 2007 12:35:28 -0600, you wrote:
>>>> Someone has a sense of humour, especially the flying couch comment !
>>> Looks like it might have been an actual screw-up, not just a joke.
>>> http://blogs.smh.com.au/sit/archives/2007/11/alarm_astronomers_in_a_spi
>>> n_ov.html
>>> http://www.space.com/businesstechnology/071112-technov-asteroid-mistake
>>> .html
>>> http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/technology/technology.ht
>>> ml?in_article_id=493152&in_page_id=1965
>>> ______________________________________________
>>> Meteorite-list mailing list
>>> Meteorite-list at meteoritecentral.com
>>> http://six.pairlist.net/mailman/listinfo/meteorite-list
>> ______________________________________________
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Received on Tue 13 Nov 2007 02:06:43 PM PST

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