29 August 2006
SETI League
PriUPS Project


Astronomy License

Pluto has been demoted from the planetary pantheon.  A question immediately popped into my alleged mind: Did Pluto find out about this immediately, or whether, as with all other information transfer, it happened no faster than the speed of light?  If so, poor Pluto, orbiting light hours from the sun, was among the last to receive notification!  In addition, when I read a Wall Street Journal article prompted by the virtual planetary realignment I realized that there was an even more important issue.

If I understand this correctly:

  • Astrology is used to determine the future of individuals.

  • An important aspect of the science of astrology is the locations and characteristics of the planets.

  • One of the most important characteristics of the planets, it seems, is their sex.

  • As we see below, "A planet's sex is determined largely by the name given to it by astronomers."

Which brings me to the obvious and vital question:  Can we leave this critical determination to astronomers alone?  Or, if we can, should they not have government-issued licenses? 

I can't believe that someone can graduate from astronomy school and be allowed to practice his craft without at least undergoing a state or federal (or other-national) licensing exam*.  This is a vital issue, and I believe it is necessary for the candidates of all parties to address it in the forthcoming elections.  And if it's brought to their attention, I'm sure they will.

Wall Street Journal article extract - the businees of naming planets

From the Wall Street Journal, 25 August 2006

*There is precedent for government regulation in this area.  I'm sure you know that the modern haruspex is required by law to use FDA-inspected chickens.

Richard Factor