IAU Opens Planet-Naming Process To The Rest Of Us
This week the International Astronomical Union, long responsible for giving planets sexy names like "HD 189733b," surprised many by opening the process to the general public. Not surprisingly, there are some rules involved. (Sit down, Trekkies.)
What's the Latest Development?
This week the International Astronomical Union (IAU) announced that it would allow the general public to provide name suggestions for newly-discovered planets, reversing longstanding policy and surprising many in the astronomy community. Interested people can submit their favorites to an e-mail address, and if they meet the criteria set by the agency, they will be put into consideration, and may even be subject to a public vote. Some of those criteria include length, pronunciation, and source of origin: For example, names can only come from intellectual property if that property is in the public domain, ruling out many popular science fiction suggestions (for the time being).
What's the Big Idea?
In a statement, the IAU cited the recent increased public interest in space as a reason for its policy change. Some of that interest was fueled by private planet-naming ventures, such as those launched by the SETI Institute and Uwingu earlier this year. Such campaigns have also been sanctioned, assuming they too follow established rules. Those rules provoked this comment from astronomer and Uwingu CEO Alan Stern: "Fundamentally it’s still about the public being subservient to IAU committees that pass on recommendations...Why should [they] be a traffic cop?"
Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com
Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.
No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.
For Damien Echols, tattoos are part of his existential armor.
- In prison Damien Echols was known by his number SK931, not his name, and had his hair sheared off. Stripped of his identity, the only thing he had left was his skin.
- This is why he began tattooing things that are meaningful to him — to carry a "suit of armor" made up the images of the people and things that have significance to him, from his friends to talismans.
- Echols believes that all places are imbued with divinity: "If you interact with New York City as if there's an intelligence behind... then it will behave towards you the same way.".
She met mere mortals with and without the Vatican's approval.
- For centuries, the Virgin Mary has appeared to the faithful, requesting devotion and promising comfort.
- These maps show the geography of Marian apparitions – the handful approved by the Vatican, and many others.
- Historically, Europe is where most apparitions have been reported, but the U.S. is pretty fertile ground too.
Even some teachers suffer from anxiety about math.
I teach people how to teach math, and I've been working in this field for 30 years. Across those decades, I've met many people who suffer from varying degrees of math trauma – a form of debilitating mental shutdown when it comes to doing mathematics.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.