Friday, September 01, 2006

Greeks Don't Like Xena

Greek astronomers have appealed to the world's top astronomical body to maintain a tradition of naming planets after Greek mythological figures, according to the Athens Observatory.

The Greeks were riled when a new planet-sized object discovered in 2003 was unofficially called 'Xena' in hommage to the main character of the American fantasy television series "Xena: Warrior Princess".

"This provisional name ... is at the origin of this initiative taken by the observatory," the institute's astronomy department director Christos Goudis said.


A team led by US astronomer Mike Brown of the California Institute of Technology discovered 'Xena', a frozen object some 15 billion kilometres (nine billion miles) from Earth, in 2003.

A fan of the popular television series, Brown has nine years to think of a permanent name for the orb, originally designated as 2003 UB313.


It seems that planetary astronomy is doing so well in the self-publicizing department these days.

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