We keep hearing news about known planets and new planets. Do you never wonder why they are called so? In the case of Pluto, this is related to a girl. Today we will remember Venetia Burney, the girl who called Pluto.
This May 1st marks 90 years since the dwarf planet Pluto got its own name. This remote body of the solar system lost its consideration as a planet in 2006. It was scanned by the NASA New Horizons mission in 2015. It was discovered on February 18, 1930 by Clyde Tombaugh of the Lovell Observatory.
The discovery made headlines worldwide. The Lowell Observatory had the right to name the new object. He received more than 1,000 suggestions from Atlas to Zymal. The name Pluto – the Roman god of the underworld – was proposed by the British Venetia Burney. She was an 11 year old girl who was interested in classic mythology. He suggested it during a conversation with his grandfather Falconer Madan, a member of the Bodleian Library. This gave the name to the astronomer Herbert Hall Turner. For his part, he sent a cable with the proposal to his American colleagues.
To choose the final name of the property, each member of the Lowell Observatory was asked to vote on one of three proposals. The first is Minerva, which already had the name of an asteroid. The other was Chronos. It had a bad reputation for being suggested by the unpopular astronomer Thomas Jefferson Jackson Lake. And Pluto. The latter finally got all the votes. The name was announced on May 1, 1930. When Madan knew, he gave Venetia a five pound reward.
The name was soon found in popular culture. Walt Disney was apparently inspired by him to name his cartoon dog Pluto. It is named after Pluto in English and is Mickey Mouse's dog companion. Disney animator Ben Sharpsteen, however, was unable to confirm this. In 1941, Glenn T. Seaborg named a new chemical element that was inspired by the name of the planet plutonium. Seaborg followed the tradition of naming the discovered elements after the new planets in the solar system. So uranium was named after Uranus and Neptune's Neptunium. But the girl Pluto called Venetia Burney will stay in the story.