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Blue Ring Around Uranus 269

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the too-many-hours-looking-through-a-telescope dept.
ZedNaught writes "The BBC is reporting that 'astronomers have discovered that the planet Uranus has a blue ring - only the second found in the Solar System. Like the blue ring of Saturn, it probably owes its existence to an accompanying small moon.' According to the April issue of Science, the blue ring is one of two new outer rings recently discovered around Uranus using the infrared Keck adaptive optics system. The rings are blue and red like Saturn's E and G rings. The blue ring around Saturn hosts the moon Enceladus while the Uranus ring contains the moon Mab."
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Blue Ring Around Uranus

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  • by east coast (590680) on Saturday April 08, 2006 @05:46PM (#15092466)
    Still not a serious comment on the news story...

    In any case, I found it odd that when MSNBC [msn.com] reported on this a few days ago they called the ring "rare". Considering that we have a whole 8-10 planets to base this on (depending on who's definition you use of "planet") I would consider the 20-25% of "blue ring" planets to be fairly common. It's not like this is an albino Kodiak or some other anomaly.

    Aside from that have a blast mocking the planet for it's unfortunate name. What were they thinking? It's like naming a boy Sue or some such nonsense.
  • Re:man... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Forge (2456) <kevinforge@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Saturday April 08, 2006 @06:26PM (#15092621) Homepage Journal
    Put down those books and pick up a remote.

    Or just pray at the alter of wikipedia [wikipedia.org]. Enlightenment WILL come.

    Eventualy

  • by MichaelSmith (789609) on Saturday April 08, 2006 @06:48PM (#15092712) Homepage Journal
    Why was "our" Moon not labeled: "Large Dustry Rock Orbiting Earth"?

    Well thats exactly what it is, however the moons history orbiting earth has left it with a different composition from asteroids. The moon has hardly any water, while many asteroids are now known to have a lot of water.

    So the distinction is still important. The real gray area is with the small outer moons of Jupiter which are called moons but are certainly captured asteroids.

  • by gnud (934243) on Saturday April 08, 2006 @06:53PM (#15092735)
    Please. Your way is just a spelling error that stuck.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aluminium#Spelling [wikipedia.org]
  • Re:man... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 08, 2006 @07:00PM (#15092755)
    In the animated series Futurama (1999-2003), in 2620 the name of Uranus was changed to get rid of "That Stupid Joke" once and for all - but the new name is "Urectum" (The most common pronunciation for Uranus is a homophone for the English phrase "your anus").


    Mehhhh
  • by lorelorn (869271) on Saturday April 08, 2006 @08:52PM (#15093090)
    Every object in the solar system is either:

    a)orbiting the sun, or

    b)orbiting an object that is orbiting the sun.

    Asteroids orbiting the sun are called centaurs, and there are millions of them. Some asteroids are in orbit of planets, such as the moons of Mars. Saturn's moon Phoebe is almost certainly a captured asteroid, as are Jupiter's outer moons, and inner ones such as Amalthea.

    In general, the easiest difference between an asteroid and a 'small moon' is that a small moon has been pulled by its own gravity into a spherical shape.

    That's not a hard and fast definition though. Saturn's moon Hyperion is in an irregular shape (one side is basically sheared off) but there are smaller moons that have the spherical shape.

    Don't get too hung up on names. Our moon was called that long before the seventeenth century, which was the first time anything was found orbiting a body other than the sun.

  • by Theatetus (521747) on Saturday April 08, 2006 @09:04PM (#15093129) Journal

    In fairness, the Greek was pronounced something closer to "oorenos" (with a long "o" at the end). The problem comes with putting a "y" before the "ou" vowel; that's an artifact of Latin.

  • In fairness, the Greek was pronounced something closer to "oorenos" (with a long "o" at the end). The problem comes with putting a "y" before the "ou" vowel; that's an artifact of Latin.

    Exactly.

    Uranus is the Latinized form of Ouranos, Greek name of the sky. [wikipedia.org] The 'yu' pronunciation is an example of an iotated vowel [wikipedia.org]. The derivation from the Greek shows that the 'yu' sound is an artifact. I am not aware if it came in with the Ancient Roman pronunciation of the latinised version or whether it has come in only recently with the English pronunciation of the latinised spelling. I suspect the latter. Some English speakers seem to like to iotate 'u' sounds, an example being 'nyuclear'.

    Most dictionaries give the un-iotated version as a possible pronunciation and I certainly find it a less compromising pronunciation to use.

  • by PizzaFace (593587) on Saturday April 08, 2006 @10:36PM (#15093372)
    Do you remember some years ago when the first probe visited Uranus? The astronomers couldn't talk about "our probe of Uranus" with straight faces, so they changed the planet's pronunciation from "your anus" to "urinous." Not that "our urinous probe" is much better, if you ask me.

I bet the human brain is a kludge. -- Marvin Minsky

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