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Дата публикации: 08 сентября 2018
Автор: Yaroslav RENKAS
Публикатор: Шамолдин Алексей Аркадьевич
Номер публикации: №1536415353 / Жалобы? Ошибка? Выделите проблемный текст и нажмите CTRL+ENTER!

Yaroslav RENKAS, (c)

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Preparations for the 300th Anniversary of St. Petersburg are in their final phase. Publishers of Russia's northern capital have done their bit by producing a book authored by Andrei Finkelstein, Dr. Sc. (Phys. & Math.), Director of the RAS Institute of Applied Astronomy, entitled "Russian Academy of Sciences Between Mars and Jupiter" (St-P., Nauka Publishers, 2001, 303 pp.). The book contains the profiles of Russian and foreign scientists whose names are borne by planetoids of the solar system.

Pages. 85

By Yaroslav RENKAS, Cand. Sc. (Hist.)

The author maintains that the tradition to give proper names to heavenly bodies dates back to the last quarter of the 18th century when European astronomers formed a "task force" to find a planet between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter whose existence had been predicted on the basis of the then popular Ticius-Baudet Rule*. The group included the Sicilian astronomer G. Piazzi who in the early hours of January 1, 1800, discovered the first planetoid in the history of astronomy naming it Ferdinand's Ceres in honor of Ferdinand IV, King of Sicily, and the Roman Fertility Goddess Ceres, Guardian of Sicily.

As of this day, or in more than 200 years of observation, over 12 thousand planetoids have been discovered revolving between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. Their minimal distances from the Earth exceed 100 mln km. At such distances even the largest of planetoids look but like pinpoints on the coelosphere, that's why they are called "asteroids"- the star-like.

For a long time asteroids were given the names of Greek, Roman, Egyptian or Chinese gods as well as of mythological heroes. It was not until the second half of the 19th century that the fashion caught on to name smaller heavenly objects after famous people, outstanding historic events or memorable geographic locations. Presently, the world scientific community has authorized to give names and support the nomenclature of the names of heavenly bodies the International Astronomic Union (IAU), one of the world's oldest scientific organizations founded in 1919 with the membership of the overwhelming majority of the world's professional astronomers and a substantial part of their national unions. In the recent decades, due to the active space endeavor, some international organizations, with the UN to the fore, have begun to broadly use the names of asteroids in the form approved by IAU in official documents.

Incidentally, discoveries of new heavenly bodies in the solar system happen not too rarely now. Therefore, IAU has set up two task forces in charge of naming newly discovered planetoids. One of them takes credit for the tradition to name the most common forms of relief on the surface of planets and their satellites (craters and mountains) after people who have made a substantial contribution to the development of the earth civilization. In its activity the group observes three fundamental principles: to give the name of a person no earlier than three years after his/her death; not to use the names of religious, political or military figures; not to use the names of gods or prophets of currently active religious confessions.

The other task force, the Committee for Planetoid Nomenclature, is empowered to give names to smaller planets of the solar system and comets.

* The Ticius-Baudet Rule is an empyrical formula for the approximate definition of planets' distance from the Sun.- Ed.

Pages. 86

It can name heavenly bodies after living people too. Moreover, it can give to planetoids the names of the military, statesmen, and politicians, but no earlier than 100 years after their death. Still, a ban on using the names of priests, gods and prophets of currently active confessions applies.

The priority right to name asteroids belongs to their discoverers, both individuals and corporations. However, if a person who first discovered a space object has died, or if within ten years the object has acquired no permanent number, the right to name it passes to an astronomic organization that has calculated the ephemerides (coordinates).

Since 1949 official astronomic publications together with information about a planetoid have provided a profile of the real person behind, his/her life and merits which have led to his/her name being immortalized in the planet.

The list of persons whose names have been given to planetoids features over 1,000 scientists (including 30 Nobel Prize winners), and 209 Russian scholars among them. The cohort includes all Presidents of the USSR Academy of Sciences and the Russian Academy of Sciences: Academicians Sergei "Vavilov (1945 - 1951), Mstislav Keldysh (1961 - 1975), Alexander Alexandrov (1975 - 1986), Guriy Marchuk (1986 - 1991) and Yuri Osipov (since 1991), as well as Director of the Academy, Princess Yekaterina Dashkova (1783 - 1796)*.

The list proceeds with Russian scientific heavyweights, Nobel Prize winners Ivan Pavlov (1904), Lev Landau (1962), Nikolai Basov (1964), Alexander Prokhorov (1964), Pyotr Kapitsa (1978) and Jores Alferov (2000).

Among the Russians honored to have their names immortalized in asteroids there are mathematicians and astronomers, physicists and chemists, biologists and physiologists, geologists and geophysics, technicians and designers. All of them faithfully served their Motherland, its prosperity and glory..

* The post of Director of the Academy was introduced in 1766 by a decree of Catherine the Great and abolished in 1798.- Ed.

Pages. 87

A few dozens of planets whose coordinates are published in the book are named after great philosophers belonging to different epochs and nations, including Heraclitus, Lao-tse, Socrates, Plato, Confucius, Francis Bacon, Blaise Pascal, Erasmus of Rotterdam, Gottfried Leibnitz, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Immanuel Kant, Ludwig Feuerbach and Karl Marx.

About 150 asteroids glorify outstanding composers, including Johann Sebastian Bach of Germany and Pyotr Tchaikovsky of Russia, Frederic Chopin of Poland and Bela Bartok of Hungary, the Frenchman Claude Debussy and the Czech Anton Dvorak, the American George Gershwin and the Norwegian Edvard Grieg, the Japanese Joshihiro Konimoto and the Austrian Gustav Mahler, the Italian Nicolo Paganini and the Finnish composer Jean Sibelius.

Over 200 writers, including Nobel Prize winners in literature: Remain Rolland of France, Frederic Mistral of Provence, the Russians Ivan Bunin, Mikhail Sholokhov and Boris Pasternak, the Germans Heinrich Boell and Gunter Grass, the Finn Franz Silania, the Chilean Pablo Neruda, the American Ernest Hemingway, Yasunape Kavabata of Japan and Rabindranath Tagore of India.

Many asteroids bear the names of outstanding statesmen, politicians and the military, including Russian Emperor Peter the Great, US Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Herbert Hoover, Prussian Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Otto Bismarck, President of France Gaston Dumerg, the founder of the Soviet State Vladimir Lenin, President of Czechoslovakia Tomas Masaryk, Prime Minister of Bulgaria Georgi Dimitrov, President of Yugoslavia Joseph Broz Tito, King of Belgium Boduen I, Generalissimo Prince Alexander Menshikov, Generalissimo Alexander Suvorov, Field Marshal Mikhail Kutuzov and Marshal Georgi Zhukov*.

The names of asteroids immortalize some famous public figures, including Nobel Prize winners, such as the founder of the Red Cross Henri Dunan (1901), the initiator of issuing special passports to refugees Fridtjof Nansen, traveler and geographer (1922), the chemist Linus Poling, a Pug - wash pioneer (1962), the well-known champion of human rights Academician Andrei Sakharov (1975) and the nun Mother Theresa (1979).

The author concludes by making a remark that in accordance with the IAU rules a planet name may not be changed under any circumstances, even if there is adopted a new procedure of naming heavenly bodies in the future or should the society revise the role and significance of a historic figure. It is an eternal monument which will cease to be only with the planet or the earth civilization as such.

* Some of these names were given to planetoids before the introduction of limitations regarding military figures.- Ed.


Опубликовано 08 сентября 2018 года

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