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Home :: Archive :: 2000 :: August ::
Heavenly Shakespeare
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.1530  Thursday, 17 August 2000.

From:           Alexander Houck <
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Date:           Thursday, 17 Aug 2000 00:01:57 -0700
Subject:        Heavenly Shakespeare

I guess the following article could be construed as creating a new
school of thought that Shakespeare is really a super-intelligent
extra-terrestrial.  Or, it just proves that I watched ET way too many
times as a young child.  Here's to more Bard.

Alex Houck
Santa Clara University

Heavenly Bodies Named To Honor Earthly Heroes
Inspiration from Shakespeare and astronomers

David Perlman, Chronicle Science Editor         *
Wednesday,*August 16, 2000
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Having run out of characters from Greek mythology, the International
Astronomical Union has turned to Shakespeare's plays and to astronomers
both living and dead to name newfound craters, moons and asteroids in
the solar system.

At a meeting of the organization in Manchester, England, the scientists
announced yesterday they have honored the late Carl Sagan by naming a
69-mile-wide crater near the equator of Mars after him.

Several moons of the distant planet Uranus already bear names of
characters in ``The Tempest,'' Shakespeare's romantic fantasy about a
shipwreck on a magical island. Moons are named for the fairy Ariel and
Miranda, daughter of Prospero.

Now they are joined by moons named for Prospero himself, the magician
master of the island who rescues Ariel; for Setebos, who enslaved Ariel;
for Stephanos, the wrecked ship's drunken butler; for Sycorax, the witch
whose prison tree held Ariel, and for Caliban, the ``savage and
deformed'' son of Sycorax whom Caliban enslaved.

A spacecraft called Near-Shoemaker is now flying in orbit around an
asteroid called Eros, which is shaped like a fat banana and is only 20
miles long with an 8-mile diameter. The asteroid holds tiny craters and
lumpy hills that are being named after great love figures in literature,
including Cupid, Lolita and Do Quixote.

Some scientists believe the asteroids are the remains of a planet that
broke into fragments eons ago, while others hold that they never accrued
enough mass to become a planet during the early formation of the solar
system.

They all orbit the sun, and most of them fly in an ``asteroid belt''
between Mars and Jupiter. The paths of a few of them cross the earth's
orbit periodically.

Under the International Union's rules, discoverers of heavenly bodies
like asteroids have the right to name them, but all the names must go
through a thorough, three-year approval process.

Almost any names are acceptable, but the rules insist: ``They must not
be obscene or objectionable; they must not pertain to politicians,
religious leaders, or military leaders -- unless long dead.''

E-mail David Perlman at 
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http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2000/08/16/MN6035.DTL
 

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