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THE NAME PLUTO

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Denis Buczynski's picture
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THE NAME PLUTO

The name of the Planet Pluto has always been ascribed to a suggestion by an 11 year old English girl Venetia Burney. This name was adopted by Tombaugh and Lowell Observatory and eventually the astronomical community used this name and continue to do so. However it may not be so widely known that the name Pluto was a suggested name for another planet in our solar system discovered in 1898 by G.Witt at the Berlin Urania Observatory and intially given the designation DQ. A name for this minor planet was suggested by S.C.Chandler of Cambridge Mass in the publications of Popular Astronomy and the Observatory Magazine in 1899. He suggested the name of Pluto. The discoverer (G.Witt) eventually decided on the name Eros and this became the official name with the designation 433 Eros.I wonder if the name Pluto hung around for a while in the astronimcal literature until the name was used by Tombaugh after his 1930 discovery.
Here are some links to the details above.

http://adsabs.harvard.edu/full/1899PA......7...26C
S.C Chandler

http://articles.adsabs.harvard.edu/cgi-bin/nph-iarticle_query?1898Obs......
S.C.Chandler

http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/14211715?searchTerm=Theros%20e...
Account of discovery R.S.Ball

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venetia_Burney
Wiki link to Burney

https://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/podcasting/transcript_pluto_naming_podca...

NASA interview with Burney
Denis Buczynski

Richard Miles's picture
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THE NAME PLUTO

Thanks Denis for keeping us informed on this naming. I had a distant memory that several other names had been considered for Eros (1898 DQ), the first near-Earth asteroid discovered. Eros remained quite a special object up until Pluto was found, in that only three other NEAs were discovered during the intervening 32 years, one of which (719 Albert) was subsequently lost for all of that time.