[AZ-Observing] Minor Planet Naming Rules

  • From: Tom Polakis <tpolakis@xxxxxxx>
  • To: AZ-Observing@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 10 Sep 2013 21:27:21 -0400

In case you find yourself stumbling across a previously undiscovered asteroid, 
the rules are stated at the Minor Planet Center.


...wherein it is written (on whatever it is that they write it on up there):

"Proposed names should be:
        16 characters or less in length (including any spaces or punctuation)
        preferably one word
        pronounceable (in some language)
        not too similar to an existing name of a minor planet or natural 
planetary satellite 

    Names for persons or events known primarily for their military or political 
activities are acceptable only after 100 years elapsed since the person died or 
the event occurred.

    Names of pet animals are discouraged.

    Names of a purely or principally commerical [sic] nature are not allowed.'

So there will be no asteroid Wal-mart, Rascal, or Trayvonmartin to worry about 
for at least the remainder of our lives.  Apparently the naming rules would 
allow an asteroid !Nara!, so named after the !Nara! bush, even though it's 
really only correctly pronounceable by Bushmen tribes.

Tom (just barely able to contain his outrage)
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