Saturday, September 16, 2006

Vale Xena, Ave Eris

Just in case you've missed it, dwarf planet 2003UB313 has now been officially named Eris, after the greek goddess of discord. Its moon is Dysnomia, after the goddess of lawlessness. They were nicknamed after their discovery Xena and Gabrielle, after a well known television show. Xena was played by Lucy Lawless, and though the moon's name is an obvious pun, it was not intentional, but when it was pointed out, they decided to go with it anyway. So it is a sort of tribute.
The only thing is, these two worlds have been Xena and Gabrielle for three years, and names have a habit of sticking. Who's to say that a planet can't have a proper name and a nickname? People do, objects do, why not worlds. There is a precedent: Arrakis and Dune!

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