The Half-Astrophysicist Blog

Oron and Rahab=Uranus and Neptune

Language can be a funny thing.  In English, we make up new words willy nilly whenver something new comes along.  Other languages change more slowly. 

The names of the five other planets visible to the naked eye are named after Roman gods.  When we discovered Uranus, Neptune and Pluto, they kept the whole mythology thing going.  All of these names translated nicely to English so we kept them.

Hebrew on the other hand, is a different matter.  The five bright planets have Hebrew names :Hama (Mercury), Noga (Venus), Maadim (Mars), Tsedek (Jupiter) and Shabtai (Saturn).  But all the planets discovered telescopically are missing from the list.

I just heard a story on The World today about Uranus and Neptune finally getting Hebrew names.  People made nominations for the names of the planets and the finalists were voted on by the public (I wish I knew about it…I might have put in my two cents).  They did this as part of the International Year of Astronomy.

Oron won for Uranus and means “little light”.  It’s dim so I guess that works.

Rahab, according to Haaretz, is a sea monster in the Bible (the Bible isn’t my strong point…anyone who knows more of the story, feel free to post it).  Since Neptune is named for the Roman god of the sea, this is a nice tip of the hat to the traditional name.

So welcome to the club, Oron and Rahab.

December 31, 2009 - Posted by | International Year of Astronomy, Solar System

1 Comment »

  1. […] Follow this link: Oron and Rahab=Uranus and Neptune « The Half-Astrophysicist Blog […]

    Pingback by Oron and Rahab=Uranus and Neptune « The Half-Astrophysicist Blog | planets | December 31, 2009 | Reply


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