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Jupiter - Arvind Narayanan's journal [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]

Jupiter [Dec. 25th, 2005|03:53 pm]
Arvind Narayanan
Apparently Jupiter now has 63 moons! This is utterly insane. I remember when I was a kid and 15 moons were known, I thought that was a ridiculously large number. Normal people have some idea of the word "moon". It's unfair for astronomers to hijack it to mean "any natural satellite whatsoever, however small". What's next, are they going to give names to all the millions of objects constituting the rings of Jupiter and call them all moons?

While we're on the subject, I can't help thinking that if the number 63 stays stable for a while then some people are going to claim that the 63 moons are actually the 63 nayanmars who have attained immortality by becoming celestial bodies, revolving around Jupiter which is a manifestation of Shiva! I mean, come on, Dhruva, a devotee of Vishnu, became a star, and Shiva worshippers don't even get moons?
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[User Picture]From: kadambarid
2005-12-25 08:47 pm (UTC)
Normal people have some idea of the word "moon". It's unfair for astronomers to hijack it to mean "any natural satellite whatsoever, however small".
'Normal' people have a different definition of the term 'hacker'- they actually mean a 'cracker' when they utter the H word but that certainly doesn't stop us from distinguishing the two and while normal people have a negative connotation to the word, we have a positive one!It's the same with moons.
Once upon a time, the "blob up there in the sky" was the only thing associated with the word 'moon' and when space exploration increased, it was found that other planets too have natural satellites and since earth's natural satellite was called a Moon, the rest became "moons" as well- it was just a matter of convenience.
Try suggesting a new word for the natural satellites of the other planets, while moon is retained for earth- and you'll probably end up being called medieval, since it's similar to those assholes back then who used to insist that earth was the center of the universe/solar sys, whatever, except you're suggesting that earth's natural satellite is the Moon while those of the other planets shouldn't be called that, even if you concede that they are.

What's next, are they going to give names to all the millions of objects constituting the rings of Jupiter and call them all moons?

Check out the difference between natural satellites and asteroids and meteorites and stuff- and well, there are billions of stars out there and a portion of that has been named (for convenience- mapping and coordinates and stuff)- but the naming has been done only for those which at the moment have some astronomical significance (wrt earth or otherwise)!

And regarding the reference to the Nayanmars, I couldn't resist thinking the same when I found out about the moons of Jupiter (for some statistical analysis for an Astrophysics paper, I was doing at that time)!- thank g**, the damn astrologers don't know this yet!;P
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[User Picture]From: arvindn
2005-12-26 01:25 am (UTC)
Ok I don't mind being called an asshole, but not for the wrong reasons. I wasn't suggesting that the word moon be used only for Earth's satellite; I thought my intended usage of moon was pretty clear, but if not, here's an anal (pun most definitely not intended) definition: if you stand on the surface of a planet, whatever you can see with your naked eye is a moon.
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[User Picture]From: kadambarid
2005-12-29 01:06 am (UTC)
Ok I don't mind being called an asshole, but not for the wrong reasons.
The "assholes" part was meant for the medieval morons who, for starters, were responsible for hanging the so-called quakers and stuff!

I thought my intended usage of moon was pretty clear, but if not, here's an anal (pun most definitely not intended) definition: if you stand on the surface of a planet, whatever you can see with your naked eye is a moon.
I'm pretty sure one can see more than just the moon ( even with the naked eye)- WHERE DID ALL THE STARS G0? -not to forget the random planets and occasional meteors and stuff!- so does that mean star==moon?:)
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