Astronomers discover sense of humour

Not that they didn’t have one already, but the IAU have decided that rather than naming the trans-neptunian object discovered by Dr Michael Brown, “Xena” and her moon “Gabrielle”, the newly designated dwarf planet will be called Eris after the Greek goddess of discord and her moon will be named Dysnomia, the spirit of lawlessness.. [perhaps the Assembly should consider twinning? – Ed] Dr Brown is reported to have commented that the name was “too perfect to resist.” Official announcement here, noting that “IAU numbers Pluto as an asteroid”. *ahem* More According to this report, Eris’s moon’s name was chosen as a tribute to Lucy Lawless

, ,

  • Fnord

    Hail Eris, goddess of Chaos!

  • Pete Baker

    All Hail Eris.. and Dysnomia!

    indeed. :o)

  • Crataegus

    I was quite happy with Xena & Gabrielle and no the other names are not too perfect to resist they are just someone being pretentious.

  • Pete Baker


    Xena would have been perfectly acceptable to me too.

    But the selected names are no more pretentious than Neptune or, even, Pluto surely.

  • Jamie Gargoyle

    Forlorn hope I suppose, but it would be nice if one of the yet-to-be-named dwarf planets was named Rupert as a tribute to Douglas Adams…

  • Crataegus


    Pretentious in the sense that, “Look at me I’m clever I know the name of the Greek and Roman God of discord,” and this would be a smug little internal joke which may have some relevance to the debate, but of sod all significance in decades to come. What I meant was not that the name is pretentious but the methodology behind it is. Ask the average school child which they prefer and I bet its Xena and if you ask me that’s the audience that really matters.

  • Cromwell

    I think, considering the names of the other planets, its best that we don’t call these two after personalities in a crappy sword & sorcery television programme, as attractive as they are.
    In millenia to come, is it not better that some random schoolthing doesnt ask his teacher ” why Xena?” to which the teacher replies ” oh that was Lucy Lawless in Xena Warrior Princess in a 20th century televisual experience.”!
    Now tell me which names you prefer?
    This is what happens when you put bedroom dwelling, computernerd poindexters in charge of provisionally naming things, luckily, at some stage seriousness prevails!