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How scientists deal with Uranus being named that. - Slate

How scientists deal with Uranus being named that. - Slate

How scientists deal with Uranus being named that. - Slate
Aug 12, 2022 1 min, 20 secs

In case you haven’t heard, we’re sending a probe to explore Uranus, so that we can all better understand what’s happening on the surface and deep inside.

Everyone from NASA scientists to elementary school teachers knows that Uranus is the most giggle-inducing planet in our solar system.

We know that one season on Uranus lasts 42 years, it’s the coldest planet in the solar system with some of the fastest winds, and it’s surrounded by a red ring and has a dark spot on it.

The mission is called for now, the Uranus Orbiter and Probe.

For some reason though, Bode broke the pattern for Uranus and used Caelus’ Greek name; it’s still the only planet in our solar system that jumped pantheons.

“So it’s not so much of a challenge to segue into something like ‘did you know Uranus smells of farts?’ (which it does), which will make people laugh, but now you’re talking about atmospheric composition.”.

For some reason along the way the spelling became Latinized to Uranus, and the pronunciation seems to have followed suit.

It’s not clear why this nonconforming nomenclature took on the Latinized pronunciation when the name was selected, when in keeping with tradition our seventh planet should really be Ouranos, pronounced like “ore-AN-ose” which would really not lend itself to such laughter.

Soon, though, thanks to the Uranus Orbiter and Probe, we’ll know much more about the planet’s workings.

Every world in the solar system deserves its own mission, and now we can finally look forward to exploring Uranus—together.


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