Sunday, December 11, 2016

This Again?

Having tried to convince us that Pluto is not a planet, astronomers now have decided to rename a bunch of stars, in several cases by returning them to names closer to the ones they had in the languages of their original discoverers.

One of those is Alpha Centauri, the nearest star to our sun at only four light-years away. The anglicized version of its Arabic name is Rigil Kentaurus, and that name has now been deemed the official moniker of Alpha Centauri A and B.

Of course, there's also a red dwarf star connected to the renamed two-star system which has been called Proxima Centauri. It was not renamed, leaving us wondering just what Proxima is proximate to, since its nearest neighbors are not centauri but Kentauruses.

And also leaving us wondering why scientists are fussing with stuff like this instead of figuring out ways to get to these stars and see if there are any local residents who might tell us what they call them.

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