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June 10, 2024

Stars, Planets to be Renamed

By Cheryl Haimann

For Immediate Release - 01 April 2003

From: The Society for Correctness in Astronomical Naming Conventions
Andy Romeda, Founder and President
Camilla Parr-Dallas, Press Liaison

The Society for Correctness in Astronomical Naming Conventions (SCANC) is dedicated to identifying planets, constellations, stars, and other celestial objects with names that are exclusionary, unrealistic, or demeaning, and renaming them with inclusionary, diversity-conscious names.

After two years of meetings, SCANC has agreed on the first group of objects to be changed. Effective immediately, these celestial objects will be renamed as indicated below.

  • The Milky Way: In deference to vegans, changed to "The Milky or Vegetable-based Milk Alternative Way."
  • Magnitude: Stars will no longer be compared in terms of "brightness," since this is demeaning to those stars commonly considered "not bright." Instead, stars will be compared using the terms "visibility enhanced" and "subtlety enhanced."
  • Orion, The Hunter: To encourage non-violence, this constellation will now be "Agassi, the Tennis Pro."
  • Virgo, the Virgin: While SCANC acknowledges virginity as a valid lifestyle option, we believe a woman of size lying on her back with her legs in the air presents a confusing role model. Therefore, this constellation will now be known as Anna Nicole.
  • Pegasus, the Winged Horse: In order to provide children with more realistic understanding of their animal companions, Pegasus will now be called Silver. The square, wing-like portion of the former Winged Horse will be spun off into a new constellation named Wyoming.
  • Gemini, the Twins: Regional dialect will be celebrated with the new name of Y'all. To recognize non-familial relationships, principle stars Castor and Pollux will be given the gender-neutral names Lee and Pat.
  • Cepheus and Cassiopeia: Persistent lobbying from the science fiction sub-group led to the five main stars of Cepheus being renamed Kirk, Picard, Sisko, Janeway, and Archer. Cassiopeia's shape has been determined to be the letter M, representative of its new name, Majel.
  • Star names: All star names may now be translated into the speaker's native language of choice. For example, English speakers will now call Betelgeuse in Agassi (formerly Orion) Andre's Armpit, and Yiddish speakers will refer to Deneb as Tuckus.
  • Uranus: While we cannot make up for the harm that has been caused to this unfortunately named planet in the past, we hope to rebuild its self-image by naming this planet for a celebrated sports figure, survivor, and person of color - Magic Johnson.

Originally appeared 2003-03-31.

Article © Cheryl Haimann. All rights reserved.
Published on 2013-04-01
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