So there is a competition going on now to nickname the most “distant, and cold world at the outer frontier of our solar system”. There’s no prize, not even any recognition as far as I can tell, but who – if you’re into naming that is – can pass up an opportunity to potentially name a planet?
Well, it’s only a nickname for now, but after the 2019 NASA fly-by, an official name will be chosen from the myths of the world, as is typically done by the namers of the Kuiper Belt astrological bodies (and I have one of those too). So, here are five nominations I sent to them this morning. Let us know what you think.
- Colchis. From Greek mythology, so this one has potential for the official name too. It is named from the story of Jason and the Golden Fleece. Jason went to claim the kingdom from King Pelias but he was then told in order for him to get the kingdom, he would have to bring the king back the famed Golden Fleece. Only problem was that the Golden Fleece was far away in a place called Colchis, at “the furthest extreme of the known world, at the far edge of the Black Sea.” Seems a fitting name for a planet that is also on the far extremes of what we know. You can read more about the tale of Jason and the Argonauts here.
- Mundos de la Frontera. Spanish for “Worlds of the Frontier” (plural because the committee has the choice of either singular or plural since they are still not sure if there are one or more worlds there yet!) My wife and I were recently in Andalucia, Spain where we visited Jerez de la Frontera and the very picturesque Arcos de la Frontera.
These and several other towns were “on the frontier” of the Reconquista, where the Castile kingdom fought back and ultimately defeated the Muslim Moors. Obviously, religious skirmishes are unlikely to happen way out in the frontier of the solar system but, I think, Mundos de la Frontera just sounds cool.
- Železný and Špotáková. Not sure about the dialectic marks, but Zelezny and Spotakova sure looks cleaner! Anyway, these are the surnames of the current male and female Olympic record holders for javelin. Javelin is about distance and it’s also got a mythological tinge to it, and their names sound cool together, so why not? They are both Czech, which I didn’t know till now the country had any prominence in the field of javelin chucking. Jan Zelezny is actually very impressive, having held the record for more than 11 years – he also has the record for second, third and fourth best performances of all time. So yeah, he is pretty apt for the title.
- Awty: A silly, cute, but funny acronym for the semi-annoying phrase “Are we there yet?” It sounds okay (rhymes with “naughty”), is only four letters long and is pretty nickname-ish!
- Since we’re kinda getting silly and thinking of proper nicknames, and since this planet (or planets) are so bloody far away, why not call them the classic Aussie slang: Woop Woop?! Yep, those planets are all the way out woop woop, as we say! I would love to see a star chart with the words Woop Woop on it. From nowhere Western Australia to nowhere Space – awesome!
Let’s see if any of these nominations get shortlisted. You can see the current list of shortlisted names here. It will be updated often when they shortlist others names, so if you see any of mine up there, please give it a thumbs-up!