Magellanic clouds

Forums General Discussion Magellanic clouds

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    Roger Dymock

    So the great and good at the IAU have decided to ‘cancel’ Magellan’ as he was not a nice person and rename his clouds. Considering that, for example, Europeans from the Vikings, Romans and through to ourselves have travelled the globe for good or evil, depending on your point of view, there must be a considerable number of celestial objects that might be considered ‘non-Woke’. Anybody fancy trawling through the 1000s of asteroids and comets for unsuitable names?

    Dr Paul Leyland

    They have been named Nebucula M{aj,in}or for a very long time now.

    Remember, Saturn ate his children and Jupiter has some rather controversial sexual activities in his past.

    Nick James

    This is pretty old news. Here is some background:

    A key comment is that “The OC is worried that a new nomenclature might be simply ignored by most astronomers”. Indeed it might.

    The early explorers were clearly not “nice” people as currently defined but who of us today will pass muster when compared to the moral standards of people 500 years in the future?

    David Arditti

    So they have not been re-named, according to the document linked to by Nick.

    If, even, the IAU or any other authority could be considered to have the ability to rename natural objects whose names have been in literature and common parlance for centuries.


    The Magellanic clouds would have been known before the Portuguese explorers saw them. If there is evidence they were known earlier in history by another name I wouldn’t have any objection to them being re-named to reflect this.

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