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Naming of the minor planet or centaur
Following the June 1997 announcement of the discovery of a new heavenly body orbiting beyond Pluto and Neptune (currently the furthest known planet from the Sun), another relatively new and closer planetary discovery has been officially named Nessus.
Originally Nessus was given the distinctly unromantic and unmemorable name of 1993 HA2. With the posting of the name by the International Astronomy Union (IAU) on 22 April 1997 (at 22.10 at Cambridge, MA) on the internet, the proposed name is now official.
The naming of planetary bodies is one of the strangest and most mystical aspects of astrology and astronomy. Sometimes the events surrounding the naming can say a great deal about the the nature of the planet. Was Pluto really named after Disney's cartoon dog or was there a link to the name of the head of the discovery team Percival Lowell (PL)? Should the planet Uranus really be Herschel or as recently proposed Prometheus?
With Nessus, the story is still rather vague. However, astrologer Melanie Reinhart has from the first proposal of the name, been convinced of its significance from numerous example charts. Having taken a stand on this, Melanie is delighted with the recent confirmation. [Melanie is most well known for her outstanding work and accompanying book and lectures on Chiron.]
What is interesting in this case is that the IAU were not in full agreement with the name. Input from astrologers (Robert von Heeren, Dieter Koch and Zane Stein) and Brian Marsden of the Minor Planet Centre, led to the final confirmation.
Could it be that this planetary body encompasses the idea of science and the metaphysical approach working together for higher knowledge?
Following the naming of Chiron and Pholus, Nessus is the third Centaur to bear a mythological name.
Footnote: thanks to astrologer, Nick Campion editor of Transit, the astrologer's newsletter for
this item of news.
Plus a comment from Robert von Heeren co-namer of Nessus:
|The centaurs are a tiny group of (to date) seven small planets with unusual properties: neither conventional comets, nor typical asteroids. At the same time, they possess qualities prevalent in both. They travel along extremely differentiated and primarily particularly elliptical orbits in the outer solar sytem. Their origin most probably lies in the Kuiper Belt beyond the orbits of Neptune and Pluto. Torn out of the belt by the force of Neptune millions of years ago, they were thereupon catapulted into the inner solar system where they assumed their present orbit in time. They generally touch or cross the orbits of the main planets and thus have long orbital periods of 49 (Chiron) to c. 123 years (Nessus). -|