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Herkfixer
2010-Nov-13, 10:18 PM
I've been thinking. The name Luna, Latin for Moon, has been used for a very long time to refer to our moon. I think we should start referring to our moon by a name, such as Luna.

All of the other planets have a "named" moon, and we refer to those moons by their names, Ganymede, Io, Callisto, Charon, etc. Why should we short ourselves, who invented the naming convention in the first place, and call our own moon the generic name of, Moon...

In the future when we start colonizing other planets, hopefully soon, those on the colonized planets may refer to the moons on their current planet as, The Moon, but I would like to think they will still call it by name, on Mars I'm sure one would say, "Doesn't Charon look beautiful tonight."

But will those on Mars still refer to Luna as, "The Moon of Earth"? I think we should just go ahead and start calling our moon, by a name now, to avoid the confusion later. Also, it would be nice to not confuse children with the fact that Moon is a proper name and a pronoun at the same time.

I think Luna is a fine name, but maybe it should be put to a world wide vote. Maybe each country could vote on a favorite name of their choosing, and all of the resulting 130ish names would be subject to a final vote for the Name of Earth's Moon, and that name would be the name it would be referred to in conversation, scientific papers, books, etc. instead of just generic, plain, Moon.

What say you BAUT?

grant hutchison
2010-Nov-13, 10:26 PM
In English, it's the Moon. English speakers on Mars will admire Phobos and Deimos (and won't be able to see Charon), and will know exactly where the Moon is, because there's only one. They'll likewise know what a moon is, and will maybe ask which one we're talking about.
People who speak Italian and Spanish will no doubt carry on calling it Luna, the way they've always done.

Grant Hutchison

Herkfixer
2010-Nov-13, 10:36 PM
Bah.. sorry.. I said Charon cause it was stuck in my head after reading a news article about Pluto... the one about reinstating it as a planet...

Herkfixer
2010-Nov-13, 10:38 PM
But eitherway.. etymology withstanding, my whole point is The Moon.. should get a name... or we should start calling the generic moon something else...

grant hutchison
2010-Nov-13, 10:44 PM
But eitherway.. etymology withstanding, my whole point is The Moon.. should get a name... or we should start calling the generic moon something else...It has a name: it's called the Moon. It's even approved by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature (WGPSN) (http://planetarynames.wr.usgs.gov/Page/Planets).

Grant Hutchison

R.A.F.
2010-Nov-14, 12:28 AM
It has a name: it's called the Moon.

Grant is correct. The name of Earth's natural satellite is The Moon.

Not to be confused with the natural satellites of the other planets...which have names of their own. This doesn't stop some from incorrectly referring to those satellites as "moons".

fagricipni
2010-Nov-14, 01:41 AM
In English I think that Luna and Sol are sufficient when they are no longer the Moon and Sun. If I understand the grammar of Spanish, "la luna" is "the moon"; using "Luna" without the article would be equivalent to using the name of an object; ie, people's names and proper nouns wouldn't use an article.

vonmazur
2010-Nov-14, 03:52 AM
"Che la Luna mezza Mare, Mama mia marenare....."

Dale

Solfe
2010-Nov-14, 05:03 AM
This reminds me of the movie Dragonslayer were the knight names the dragon "Draco" and the dragon objects because it is the same word said in Latin.

grapes
2010-Nov-14, 05:32 AM
Also, it would be nice to not confuse children with the fact that Moon is a proper name and a pronoun at the same time.First, let's not confuse them by calling it a pronoun. :)


I think Luna is a fine name, but maybe it should be put to a world wide vote. Maybe each country could vote on a favorite name of their choosing, and all of the resulting 130ish names would be subject to a final vote for the Name of Earth's Moon, and that name would be the name it would be referred to in conversation, scientific papers, books, etc. instead of just generic, plain, Moon.This webpage (http://nineplanets.org/days.html) claims that English is the international astronomical language, but, for instance, Mars is known as Ares, in Greek.

Jens
2010-Nov-14, 06:53 AM
But eitherway.. etymology withstanding, my whole point is The Moon.. should get a name... or we should start calling the generic moon something else...

The thing is, in Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian, at least, I think that luna is a generic word, just like moon is in English. So even if we start calling it Luna in English, they will still be using a generic noun in those languages.

Jens
2010-Nov-14, 06:55 AM
But will those on Mars still refer to Luna as, "The Moon of Earth"? I think we should just go ahead and start calling our moon, by a name now, to avoid the confusion later. Also, it would be nice to not confuse children with the fact that Moon is a proper name and a pronoun at the same time.


Are you assuming that they will all speak the same language? Even on the ISS, I think that people speak more than one language.

Jens
2010-Nov-14, 06:57 AM
I think Luna is a fine name, but maybe it should be put to a world wide vote. Maybe each country could vote on a favorite name of their choosing, and all of the resulting 130ish names would be subject to a final vote for the Name of Earth's Moon, and that name would be the name it would be referred to in conversation, scientific papers, books, etc. instead of just generic, plain, Moon.

And then one question, how would you possibly enforce such a decision? This would seem to present some minor problems in terms of the freedom of speech.

fagricipni
2010-Nov-14, 08:24 AM
But eitherway.. etymology withstanding, my whole point is The Moon.. should get a name... or we should start calling the generic moon something else...

The thing is, in Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian, at least, I think that luna is a generic word, just like moon is in English. So even if we start calling it Luna in English, they will still be using a generic noun in those languages.

I think that as I've said in those languages the use of the definite, indefinite, and no articles will disambiguate the cases; eg, in Spanish, "la luna" is "the moon", which defaults to Earth's moon but can be changed by using; eg, "of Pluto", etc; "una luna" is "a moon", "Luna" with no article is Earth's moon with no modification permitted.

If there are languages that use "luna" for "moon" and don't distinguish definite objects, indefinite objects, and names grammatically, then tell us what they are.

Jens
2010-Nov-14, 08:32 AM
I think that as I've said in those languages the use of the definite, indefinite, and no articles will disambiguate the cases; eg, in Spanish, "la luna" is "the moon", which defaults to Earth's moon but can be changed by using; eg, "of Pluto", etc; "una luna" is "a moon", "Luna" with no article is Earth's moon with no modification permitted.

But isn't it the same in English? "The moon" means our moon, at least in my English, whereas "a moon" would be used to refer to a generic one. We say "a moon of Jupiter" but would say that Chiron is "the moon of Pluto" (I think) since there is only one. Isn't this the same as in Spanish? It is true, admittedly, that we can't use "Moon" in English without any article, but is it really common in Spanish? Spanish obviously isn't my first language, but I don't recall hearing people saying just "Luna" rather than "la Luna."



If there are languages that use "luna" for "moon" and don't distinguish definite objects, indefinite objects, and names grammatically, then tell us what they are.

Interesting question. Actually I know of at least one, but it doesn't really count. Neo Patwa (http://patwa.pbworks.com).

AndreasJ
2010-Nov-14, 08:41 AM
If there are languages that use "luna" for "moon" and don't distinguish definite objects, indefinite objects, and names grammatically, then tell us what they are.
Latin.

Perikles
2010-Nov-14, 08:45 AM
If you want a new (or old) name for the Moon (which with an uppercase M is the default, a specific object) why not use the Greek selēnē? - much nicer. But this is just one example of a feature of any language, which uses a basic concept for something analogous where there is seldom room for ambiguity. If you don't like it, you will also have to find new words for the foot of your bed or table, the head of a government, the hand of destiny. I don't see what is wrong with 'the Moon' and 'a moon of X'

fagricipni
2010-Nov-14, 10:51 AM
Spanish obviously isn't my first language, but I don't recall hearing people saying just "Luna" rather than "la Luna."

I haven't heard or seen it much used by English speakers in general either, but it's not at all rare among science fiction fans and astronomers, amateur or otherwise; but I would expect that it would become more common if more people actually faced that problem in a practical sense on a frequent basis; eg, if we had a Martian colony with a population of about one million and thousands of people being transported between the planets each year; but, yes, you're right, it won't spread outside the current narrow set of users of that convention until something like Martian colonization occurs.


If there are languages that use "luna" for "moon" and don't distinguish definite objects, indefinite objects, and names grammatically, then tell us what they are.


Interesting question. Actually I know of at least one, but it doesn't really count. Neo Patwa (http://patwa.pbworks.com).

:p


Latin.

If we had the proportion of people who learned Latin among the educated people that we had 100 years ago, this might cause me some concern, but now Latin and Ancient Greek are effectively not languages used for communication; ie, if two people are speaking Latin in public, it is far more likely that they are trying to obscure what they are saying from other people than it is that they have no other common language.

AndreasJ
2010-Nov-14, 11:13 AM
If we had the proportion of people who learned Latin among the educated people that we had 100 years ago, this might cause me some concern, but now Latin and Ancient Greek are effectively not languages used for communication; ie, if two people are speaking Latin in public, it is far more likely that they are trying to obscure what they are saying from other people than it is that they have no other common language.
I'm not interested in causing you any concern: I just answered the question.

mahesh
2010-Nov-14, 12:33 PM
...Why should we short ourselves, who invented the naming convention in the first place, and call our own moon the generic name of, Moon...

When the Moon (moon) hits your eye
Like a big-a pizza pie...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GuXhUvwYZ54

..would neither sound the same, nor taste the same.

slang
2010-Nov-14, 12:49 PM
What say you BAUT?

Why bother? We don't even have a worldwide consensus on the names of countries and places.

Besides, the 'problem' will correct itself when it is needed for colloquial speech. "Yes, honey, I'll be home for lunch, nothing in the agenda but a quick business meeting on the moon.". If this sentence often leads to confusion, making 'honey' ask "which moon?" all the time, the speaker will chose another method of specifying where his business meeting is. In academic speech there is no problem of course, so I wouldn't start worrying over the issue until you get confused when you hear "that's no moon!".

grant hutchison
2010-Nov-14, 01:36 PM
We say "a moon of Jupiter" but would say that Chiron is "the moon of Pluto" (I think) since there is only one.Chiron is a Centaur planetoid between Saturn and Uranus. Charon is a moon of Pluto (one of three known).

Grant Hutchison

Jens
2010-Nov-14, 03:03 PM
Chiron is a Centaur planetoid between Saturn and Uranus. Charon is a moon of Pluto (one of three known).


Thanks for the correction. But what's a vowel between friends?

grant hutchison
2010-Nov-14, 04:06 PM
Thanks for the correction. But what's a vowel between friends?Sorry, I was being pedantic even by my usual standards.
But I think if you were offered the chance to dine with the mythological Chiron, and Charon turned up instead, you'd be ... disappointed. :lol:

Grant Hutchison

George
2010-Nov-14, 04:27 PM
Sorry, I was being pedantic even by my usual standards.
But I think if you were offered the chance to dine with the mythological Chiron, and Charon turned up instead, you'd be ... disappointed. :lol: But not if it was Charlene that came with husband Christy. :wink: Or perhaps a Sharon, if you are carein' for Sharon. :)

grant hutchison
2010-Nov-14, 04:47 PM
But not if it was Charlene that came with husband Christy. :wink: I'm sure James Christy is a nice man with a lovely wife, but I will not soon forgive him for foisting that "sh" sound on Charon.


Or perhaps a Sharon, if you are carein' for Sharon.The Acheron was the River of Pain. I feel it now.

Grant Hutchison

slang
2010-Nov-14, 08:39 PM
Or perhaps a Sharon, if you are carein' for Sharon. :)

For a second I read Sauron there. Brr. But obviously it was just the former Israeli Prime Minister. Confusion about names. Still on topic. :)

George
2010-Nov-14, 08:40 PM
I'm sure James Christy is a nice man with a lovely wife, but I will not soon forgive him for foisting that "sh" sound on Charon. Obviously he has a twisted sense of humor, not that I don't appreciate it. :)


The Acheron was the River of Pain. I feel it now. I'm not comfortable with whether or not I should feel guilty. Isn't that the river Charon would cross with a carry-on of carrion? [Now I'm more delightfully resolved with puntificating guilt. :) ]

Ara Pacis
2010-Nov-14, 09:18 PM
Ya know, eventually someone will rename them so as to be able to trademark the name for some commercial purpose, perhaps for a spaceliner transportation or fuel service.

Herkfixer
2010-Nov-14, 10:22 PM
Actually it is not incorrect to refer to those other satellites as "moons". The term "satellite" refers to anything in orbit around a planet, very generic. "Moon" is also defined as any natural satellite of a planet. It has fallen in and out of use as a generic term over the last 1,000 years or so but is back in usage again. The point of the post isn't to argue that "The Moon" is the name of the moon, but the fact that the term has been co-opted to be a generic term now and I feel our moon deserves better than that... We should give it a proper name. All of the other planets have proper names for their moons and we can do better for our own.

George
2010-Nov-14, 11:18 PM
"Moon" is also defined as any natural satellite of a planet. It has fallen in and out of use as a generic term over the last 1,000 years or so but is back in usage again. The earliest use I would guess would be from Galileo who was the first to see the moons of Jupiter and describe them in his 1610 Starry Messenger (http://www.bard.edu/admission/forms/pdfs/galileo.pdf):

"Deserving of notice also is the difference between the appearances of the planets and of the fixed stars.16 The planets show their globes perfectly round and definitely bounded, looking like little moons, spherical and flooded all over with light"

However, perhaps planets were casually called moons, too, by various philosophers. Any idea?

[Correction: Galileo did not call Jupiter's satellites moons here, but he likely did elsewhere at a later time. In this pamphlet, SM, he is refering to the planets as moon-like objects.]

Buttercup
2010-Nov-14, 11:25 PM
I also prefer "Luna" to "the moon."

But then there's the association with "luna-tic." :(

Time to rename it! :)

fagricipni
2010-Nov-14, 11:41 PM
If there are languages that use "luna" for "moon" and don't distinguish definite objects, indefinite objects, and names grammatically, then tell us what they are.


[responding to my contention, that Latin isn't a current concern:] I'm not interested in causing you any concern: I just answered the question.

I actually knew that Latin didn't have articles and used the word "luna" for moon; but since I didn't explicitly state that I was concerned with modern languages, then I can't argue with the correctness of the answer; I was merely showing that at this point in time, I don't think that it can reasonably thought of a practical problem for the idea I proposed as a solution that will likely be used in practice when the issue becomes relevant to more than a tiny proportion of the population.

BTW, I've remembered a fact article discussing possibilities of human lunar activities that consistently referred to a "regolith (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regolith) mover", because, as the author noted in a footnote, despite the similarity in design and function, this pieces of equipment would not be earthmovers because they would not be moving pieces of Earth. In this case, however, I don't imagine that that is ever going to matter as much to the vast majority of the population as the fact that a "hot dog" is not a dog.

grant hutchison
2010-Nov-15, 12:02 AM
BTW, I've remembered a fact article discussing possibilities of human lunar activities that consistently referred to a regolith (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regolith) mover", because, as the author noted in a footnote, despite the similarity in design and function, this pieces of equipment would not be earthmovers because they would not be moving pieces of Earth.Nor would they be moving earth, in the sense of soil, which by definition contains biological material.

Grant Hutchison

R.A.F.
2010-Nov-15, 12:06 AM
Actually it is not incorrect to refer to those other satellites as "moons".

Not incorrect, just inaccurate.


"Moon" is also defined as any natural satellite of a planet.

Not when you capitalize it, as you have done. You may talk of the "moons" (little "m") of other planets, but it's still inaccurate.


The point of the post isn't to argue that "The Moon" is the name of the moon...

Then don't.


...the fact that the term has been co-opted to be a generic term now...

So because people have made past mistakes, we must perpetuate those mistakes...why?


...and I feel our moon deserves better than that... We should give it a proper name. All of the other planets have proper names for their moons and we can do better for our own.

For the third time now, the Moon does have a "proper" name...it is The Moon.

If you do not wish to accept that, well that's fine. It doesn't change the factualness of what the Moon's name "is".



I will conceed this much. If you want to talk about Earth's natural satellite, it is The Moon (notice the capital), while when discussing other planets natural satellites, "moons" (notice small "m") is allowable.


But there is no need to "rename" Earth's satellite as it already has a name.

grapes
2010-Nov-15, 12:11 AM
The earliest use I would guess would be from Galileo who was the first to see the moons of Jupiter and describe them in his 1610 Starry Messenger (http://www.bard.edu/admission/forms/pdfs/galileo.pdf):

"Deserving of notice also is the difference between the appearances of the planets and of the fixed stars.16 The planets show their globes perfectly round and definitely bounded, looking like little moons, spherical and flooded all over with light"

However, perhaps planets were casually called moons, too, by various philosophers. Any idea?

[Correction: Galileo did not call Jupiter's satellites moons here, but he likely did elsewhere at a later time. In this pamphlet, SM, he is refering to the planets as moon-like objects.]And, English wasn't Galileo's language of choice was it? So, he may not have been familiar with its finer points. :)

vonmazur
2010-Nov-15, 12:13 AM
We say "Cislunar Orbit" but have "Selenographers" making the maps....just like the other English borrowing from the "Official Languages" "Hysterectomomy" and "Uterine" Why can we just use the old English/Germanic names?? Does it have to be Latin or Greek to be "Scientific"??? This has bothered me since childhood and Latin classes....The made us study Greek as well, or it that "Daneos", or "Hellas"...I have to take some medicinal Wild Turkey and think about this for a while :)

Dale

R.A.F.
2010-Nov-15, 12:27 AM
I have to take some medicinal Wild Turkey and think about this for a while :)

Well, that should help. :)

Consider this...why do we call them weather satellites...why not call them weather moons?

fagricipni
2010-Nov-15, 01:05 AM
Nor would they be moving earth, in the sense of soil, which by definition contains biological material.

Grant Hutchison

I hadn't heard that one, but I think that it will have about the same weight as the objection I stated will have in the general population's mind.

Jens
2010-Nov-15, 01:31 AM
I feel our moon deserves better than that... We should give it a proper name.

I can understand your feeling, and I think it's completely within your rights to use the term Luna to refer to the moon. Do it in conversation and writing, and if it catches on, great. For me the issue is whether you are trying to force everybody else to use a certain term.

fagricipni
2010-Nov-15, 01:37 AM
I have to take some medicinal Wild Turkey and think about this for a while :)

Well, that should help. :)

Consider this...why do we call them weather satellites...why not call them weather moons?

He'll probably want something a lot stronger than Wild Turkey when I point out that something similar has already been done; newspaper headlines from images of newspaper front pages in Moon Shot (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0124010/) about Sputnik 1: "Russia Launches Satellite: Moon Circling Earth Every 95 Minutes", "Red 'Moon' Flies 18,000 M.P.H.", "How Russ 'Moon' Will Affect U.S.".

Jens
2010-Nov-15, 01:52 AM
The earliest use I would guess would be from Galileo who was the first to see the moons of Jupiter and describe them in his 1610 Starry Messenger (http://www.bard.edu/admission/forms/pdfs/galileo.pdf):

"Deserving of notice also is the difference between the appearances of the planets and of the fixed stars.16 The planets show their globes perfectly round and definitely bounded, looking like little moons, spherical and flooded all over with light"


It's already been pointed out that English probably wasn't Galileo's native language. But there is a hint from the online etymology dictionary. It says that "satellite" was used in English to describe the moons of Jupiter in the 1660s (presumably in papers responding to or discussing Galileo's discoveries), and similarly says that "moon" was used for the same purpose in 1665. So the two seem to have been used side-by-side from very early on.

R.A.F.
2010-Nov-15, 01:53 AM
...about Sputnik 1: "Russia Launches Satellite: Moon Circling Earth Every 95 Minutes", "Red 'Moon' Flies 18,000 M.P.H.", "How Russ 'Moon' Will Affect U.S.".

Yes...that was 50 + years ago.

Have a more recent example?

George
2010-Nov-15, 02:10 AM
And, English wasn't Galileo's language of choice was it? So, he may not have been familiar with its finer points. :) But a rose by any other name is still a rose; and a metaphor is a metaphor if it works in any literary sense. Or am I missing something that is dramatic in the Italian translation. [Galileo often wrote in Italian in lieu of traditional Latin, starting with The Starry Messenger (or The Starry Message, whatever).]

A moon is an excellent word to use to describe an orbiting orb. We use "sun" so often it is rarely even capitalized when it is referred to as a proper noun, not to mention the lack of color correctness associated with it. :)

George
2010-Nov-15, 02:26 AM
It's already been pointed out that English probably wasn't Galileo's native language. But there is a hint from the online etymology dictionary. It says that "satellite" was used in English to describe the moons of Jupiter in the 1660s (presumably in papers responding to or discussing Galileo's discoveries), and similarly says that "moon" was used for the same purpose in 1665. So the two seem to have been used side-by-side from very early on.
Yes. Apparently, Galileo used the Italian word stelle, as seen in his Dialogue (Day 2):

And we see no less sensibly that of the satellites of Jupiter (stelle, Medicee),..

Interestingly, but not to any surprise, Stillman Drake, translator, followed this quote with: "(note: Galileo had named the moons he discovered the "Medicean stars" in honor of his patron, the Grand Duke of Tuscany, to whom this book was dedicated.)"

No doubt "moon" in Italian does not begin with an "m" else he'd have used it all the time, literary master that he was. Stelle is likely it.

Jens
2010-Nov-15, 02:26 AM
But a rose by any other name is still a rose; and a metaphor is a metaphor if it works in any literary sense. Or am I missing something that is dramatic in the Italian translation. [Galileo often wrote in Italian in lieu of traditional Latin, starting with The Starry Messenger (or The Starry Message, whatever).]

But you were quoting from an English translation. What is the word that Galileo himself used? Unless we know that, I don't see how we can make any judgment about the use of the word "moon." The start of this thread was whether it's better to use "Moon" or "Luna." And surely Galileo didn't use "moon," right?

George
2010-Nov-15, 02:37 AM
But you were quoting from an English translation. What is the word that Galileo himself used? Unless we know that, I don't see how we can make any judgment about the use of the word "moon." The start of this thread was whether it's better to use "Moon" or "Luna." And surely Galileo didn't use "moon," right? I wasn't fast enough on the second post. :) I assume stelle was the use we translate as moon.

It is flattery to call things the name of a primary thing. [I still think Uranus should be called George, Herschel's original name for it, or a close enough proximity. ;)] I can't see the flattery if it is "lunas" orbitng Jupiter and other planets.

fagricipni
2010-Nov-15, 02:49 AM
Yes...that was 50 + years ago.

Have a more recent example?

You asked: "why not call them weather moons?"; I pointed that interesting bit of trivia from the very start of the artificial satellites; I would have thought that my reference to him "wanting something a lot stronger than Wild Turkey" would have made it clear that I was joking on how seriously I thought that particular bit of trivia should be taken in to account in considering proper current language usage.

fagricipni
2010-Nov-15, 03:05 AM
The earliest use I would guess would be from Galileo who was the first to see the moons of Jupiter and describe them in his 1610 Starry Messenger (http://www.bard.edu/admission/forms/pdfs/galileo.pdf):

"Deserving of notice also is the difference between the appearances of the planets and of the fixed stars.16 The planets show their globes perfectly round and definitely bounded, looking like little moons, spherical and flooded all over with light"

However, perhaps planets were casually called moons, too, by various philosophers. Any idea?

[Correction: Galileo did not call Jupiter's satellites moons here, but he likely did elsewhere at a later time. In this pamphlet, SM, he is refering to the planets as moon-like objects.]

Until the invention of the telescope, only Luna was the only astronomical body (excepting the occasional comet) that was visibly a non-point-like object; when magnification showed that the other "wanderers" also showed faces that also have a disc-like appearance the most clear comparison was and still is to "looking like little moons"; If I were to try to describe what Venus looks like in a telescope close to its inferior conjunction to someone who has never looked through a telescope, I'd compare the shape to the more familiar crescent moon that the person has almost certainly seen with the naked eye.

Jens
2010-Nov-15, 03:14 AM
Until the invention of the telescope, only Luna was the only astronomical body (excepting the occasional comet) that was visibly a non-point-like object; when magnification showed that the other "wanderers" also showed faces that also have a disc-like appearance the most clear comparison was and still is to "looking like little moons"; If I were to try to describe what Venus looks like in a telescope close to its inferior conjunction to someone who has never looked through a telescope, I'd compare the shape to the more familiar crescent moon that the person has almost certainly seen with the naked eye.

Just something I wondered about rather than an argument, but what about Sol? It's too bright to look at directly, but do we perceive it as a point or a disc? I assume we perceive it as a disc, since children draw it that way, but that could be from the influence of other pictures.

Centaur
2010-Nov-15, 03:53 AM
While it is true that the satellites of other planets were first referred to as moons about half a century after Gallileo coined the term satellites (meaning attendants), the generic term moon was used infrequently for centuries and in the context of an analogy. Writers knew that the proper term was satellite. It was only after artificial satellites were first launched in 1957 that many folks (including those in the media) started assuming that all satellites were artificial, and the term moon became used more frequently in regard to natural satellites. Naturally, modern dictionaries include the alternate meaning because it has appeared in the media.

This has led to people in astronomical forums often asking why the Moon has no name of its own. Of course, the name Moon originally applied to what was thought to be a unique object, as was the case with the Sun. When an object is considered unique, its name is both a common and proper noun. Hence the article "the" is often placed in front of their names.

Since before A.D. 900, in English the natural satellite of the Earth has been called Moon or a similar variant. The Middle English term was Mone. In Old English it was Mona. In German it is Mond. In Greek, Mene, and in Sanskrit, Masa. In none of these cases did it refer to anything other than the natural satellite of Earth.

In Latin based languages the name is Luna. That does not make Luna the name in English. Latin based languages now have the same problem with the name becoming used generically in referrence to planetary satellites.

I suggest that all astronomers (professional or amateur) try to avoid the term moon when referring to the satellites of other planets. Eventually, the media and dictionaries might resume the exclusive use of the term Moon for a single object and stop confusing the public. Unless, of course, they find satellite difficult to spell (which may be the ultimate source of the problem, LOL.)

grapes
2010-Nov-15, 03:53 AM
I assume stelle was the use we translate as moon. Even worse, for our purposes, then. Not only didn't he use the Italian word that would be like our use of "moon", he used "star"? Hey, when I can afford my own planetary system, I'm going to name its central body "Star". With a capital "S". That should cause a couple brazillian forum posts.

Just something I wondered about rather than an argument, but what about Sol? It's too bright to look at directly, but do we perceive it as a point or a disc? I assume we perceive it as a disc, since children draw it that way, but that could be from the influence of other pictures.I've looked at it directly many times. Of course, it is very nearly the same size as the moon, so it is seen as a disc.

Jens
2010-Nov-15, 04:24 AM
While it is true that the satellites of other planets were first referred to as moons about half a century after Galileo coined the term satellites (meaning attendants), the generic term moon was used infrequently for centuries and in the context of an analogy. Writers knew that the proper term was satellite. It was only after artificial satellites were first launched in 1957 that many folks (including those in the media) started assuming that all satellites were artificial, and the term moon became used more frequently in regard to natural satellites. Naturally, modern dictionaries include the alternate meaning because it has appeared in the media.

It sounds to me like it's not so much a question of not knowing, but rather that writers faced a new need (reducing ambiguity between artificial and natural satellite) and adopted an old term that was used infrequently, but not incorrectly.



Since before A.D. 900, in English the natural satellite of the Earth has been called Moon or a similar variant. The Middle English term was Mone. In Old English it was Mona. In German it is Mond. In Greek, Mene, and in Sanskrit, Masa. In none of these cases did it refer to anything other than the natural satellite of Earth.

Is that entirely true? Obviously it was not used to refer to natural satellites in general, since they were not known to exist, but in some cases wasn't it used to refer to the month? In Japanese, the same word is used for the moon and a month, and even in English the two words are clearly derived from the same word. Even in English, I've heard the phrase "many moons ago," but that is probably a fake imitation of an Amerindian way of speaking.



In Latin based languages the name is Luna. That does not make Luna the name in English. Latin based languages now have the same problem with the name becoming used generically in reference to planetary satellites.

I'm not sure why it's a problem. Is it a problem that earth is used both for the planet and for soil? That China is used both for the country and porcelain? As long as it's clear from the context, I don't really see why there's a problem with using a proper noun as a generic noun as well.

Ara Pacis
2010-Nov-15, 06:32 AM
For the third time now, the Moon does have a "proper" name...it is The Moon.

If you do not wish to accept that, well that's fine. It doesn't change the factualness of what the Moon's name "is".

I will conceed this much. If you want to talk about Earth's natural satellite, it is The Moon (notice the capital), while when discussing other planets natural satellites, "moons" (notice small "m") is allowable.

But there is no need to "rename" Earth's satellite as it already has a name.

Decided by whom? Astronomers are merely a clique of people who stay up at night staring off into space, then putting on aires and getting together for tea and crumpets to decide among themselves how their perceptions rule the cosmos. The scientific method is one thing, but linguistics is another. Some of these words and concepts have been around for thousands of years before many of them were born and even before the establishment of the IAU. I didn't vote for that word change nor did I elect the astronomers to represent me who did. The opinions of astronomers are their opinions only, and to pressume they legitimately represent the ideas of the people on this planet, most of whom speak a different language is the height of arrogance. :D

Ara Pacis
2010-Nov-15, 06:36 AM
The earliest use I would guess would be from Galileo who was the first to see the moons of Jupiter and describe them in his 1610 Starry Messenger (http://www.bard.edu/admission/forms/pdfs/galileo.pdf):

"Deserving of notice also is the difference between the appearances of the planets and of the fixed stars.16 The planets show their globes perfectly round and definitely bounded, looking like little moons, spherical and flooded all over with light"

However, perhaps planets were casually called moons, too, by various philosophers. Any idea?

[Correction: Galileo did not call Jupiter's satellites moons here, but he likely did elsewhere at a later time. In this pamphlet, SM, he is refering to the planets as moon-like objects.]

Well, wasn't it the proper assumption back then to assume that Jupiter revolved around the Earth too, just like the Moon?

Ara Pacis
2010-Nov-15, 06:40 AM
Just something I wondered about rather than an argument, but what about Sol? It's too bright to look at directly, but do we perceive it as a point or a disc? I assume we perceive it as a disc, since children draw it that way, but that could be from the influence of other pictures.

With the right amount of cloud or fog, you can discern the solar disc without going blind, sometimes even without cloud or fog if it's near enough to the horizon, like happens twice a day most of the time.

Jens
2010-Nov-15, 06:42 AM
I didn't vote for that word change nor did I elect the astronomers to represent me who did.

I'm not sure what word change you are referring to. RAF was merely saying that the moon has a name (in English, I presume), namely the moon. I don't think there has been any change there. Or do you mean the use of "moon" as a generic term? There, too, it seems that it has a long history of usage.

grant hutchison
2010-Nov-15, 08:53 AM
From the Oxford English Dictionary:
First English use of "moon" to describe an object in orbit around another planet: 1665.
First English use of "satellite" to describe an object in orbit around another planet: 1665.
Prior to that (and for two centuries afterwards) a satellite was a person who attended upon another person.

Grant Hutchison

fagricipni
2010-Nov-15, 09:24 AM
Just something I wondered about rather than an argument, but what about Sol? It's too bright to look at directly, but do we perceive it as a point or a disc? I assume we perceive it as a disc, since children draw it that way, but that could be from the influence of other pictures.

With the right amount of cloud or fog, you can discern the solar disc without going blind, sometimes even without cloud or fog if it's near enough to the horizon, like happens twice a day most of the time.

Honestly, I had simply forgotten that the ancients considered the sun to be a planet. The fact that one can not directly see its position against the star background -- as one can with the other "wanderers" -- was another factor in my forgetting that the ancients considered the sun a planet.

As far as what I can see when Sol is not dimmed, I see a glare field; if that were my only observation of Sol, then I would be unable to tell you if it were disk-like or not; I certainly can see no surface features on it; even during an about 50% solar eclipse, I could not directly see without dimming (ie, the protective filters) any hint of the change in shape of the apparent solar disk.

I do expect that the ancients were aware that the sun showed a disc-like shape, because of observations of the type that Ara Pacis describes.

Jens
2010-Nov-15, 09:38 AM
Honestly, I had simply forgotten that the ancients considered the sun to be a planet.


I'm not sure if they did or not, but you wrote "astronomical body," which to me is broader than "planet."

fagricipni
2010-Nov-15, 10:04 AM
Honestly, I had simply forgotten that the ancients considered the sun to be a planet.


I'm not sure if they did or not, but you wrote "astronomical body," which to me is broader than "planet."

Even with that correction, given what I see:


As far as what I can see when Sol is not dimmed, I see a glare field; if that were my only observation of Sol, then I would be unable to tell you if it were disk-like or not; I certainly can see no surface features on it; even during an about 50% solar eclipse, I could not directly see without dimming (ie, the protective filters) any hint of the change in shape of the apparent solar disk.

, I'd naturally assume that the sun cannot usually been seen as being disk-like in nature directly; indirect methods, such as the famous pinhole projection are less satisfying in a text to a general audience; and even if most people can directly some disc-like nature through the glare, very few people try more than once or twice (if that many) because it is a quite an aversive experience and they know that damage is possible from extended attempts to do so; while most people have, at least a few times in their lives, stared directly at the moon.

Jens
2010-Nov-15, 10:44 AM
I wasn't fast enough on the second post. :) I assume stelle was the use we translate as moon.


I know this has already been pointed out, but I find it hard to imagine why you would assume that "stelle" was the Italian word for moon. I don't have a dictionary, but seems fairly obvious that "stelle" is star (as in "stellar"), and the word for moon in Italian is certainly "luna" or something sounding like that. "stelle Medicee" would mean "stars of the Medici," as in the royal house. And you have to remember that the word "star" originally meant any heavenly body (and it still does in many languages; in Japanese "hoshi" means "star," and the earth can be called a "hoshi"). So what Galileo was saying was a "Medici heavenly body."

Strange
2010-Nov-15, 11:21 AM
I don't have a dictionary, but seems fairly obvious that "stelle" is star (as in "stellar"), and the word for moon in Italian is certainly "luna" or something sounding like that.

Correct.

Stelle = stars (stella, singular)
Luna = moon

grapes
2010-Nov-15, 02:12 PM
Honestly, I had simply forgotten that the ancients considered the sun to be a planet. The fact that one can not directly see its position against the star background -- as one can with the other "wanderers" -- was another factor in my forgetting that the ancients considered the sun a planet.One can directly see its position against the star background during an eclipse, I am told.

And they had pretty decent models of the whole shebang--I think one theory of why it was hot in the summer was because the sun aligned with the brightest star, the dog star Sirius, to create the "dog days".


As far as what I can see when Sol is not dimmed, I see a glare field; if that were my only observation of Sol, then I would be unable to tell you if it were disk-like or not; I certainly can see no surface features on it; even during an about 50% solar eclipse, I could not directly see without dimming (ie, the protective filters) any hint of the change in shape of the apparent solar disk. As I've mentioned before, I have stared directly at the sun. It was during an eclipse, and I could see the change in shape "directly".
, I'd naturally assume that the sun cannot usually been seen as being disk-like in nature directly; indirect methods, such as the famous pinhole projection are less satisfying in a text to a general audience; and even if most people can directly some disc-like nature through the glare, very few people try more than once or twice (if that many) because it is a quite an aversive experience and they know that damage is possible from extended attempts to do so; while most people have, at least a few times in their lives, stared directly at the moon.I was young, and had not heard, or heeded, the warnings. But the pin-hole effect is all around you during an eclipse. Little dots of light shown through tree leaves turn into hundreds of crescents, as the moon slowly obscures the sun.

George
2010-Nov-15, 03:23 PM
I know this has already been pointed out, but I find it hard to imagine why you would assume that "stelle" was the Italian word for moon. In retrospect, I too find it hard to imagine. I erroneously assumed Drake was using a very literal translation for "stelle" that would derive satellite, which might have been deemed synonymous with moon. I was drawing conclusions before thinking; it speeds things up but usually in the wrong direction. It is obvious that the more literal view is to consider that Galileo was calling the satellites of Jupiter "stars". This is consistent with his other works and extends into the naming of Uranus by Herschel, who named it Georgium Sidus (George's Star) in honor of King George, with the hope of tangible appreciation, no doubt.

I still don't see much a problem with calling natural satellites "moons". It is a smooth and user friendly word to use rather than "natural satellite". How often do we see other stars refered to as suns.

R.A.F.
2010-Nov-15, 03:54 PM
You asked: "why not call them weather moons?"; I pointed that interesting bit of trivia from the very start of the artificial satellites; I would have thought that my reference to him "wanting something a lot stronger than Wild Turkey" would have made it clear that I was joking on how seriously I thought that particular bit of trivia should be taken in to account in considering proper current language usage.

Yeah..sorry if I seemed rather "harsh" in that post.

R.A.F.
2010-Nov-15, 04:01 PM
I still don't see much a problem with calling natural satellites "moons". It is a smooth and user friendly word to use rather than "natural satellite".

Why not refer to other planets as "earths"?? Because that would be inaccurate, as there is only one Earth.


How often do we see other stars referred to as suns.

You don't...because there is only one Sun. Why not refer to stars, planets, and satellites by their proper names? Because it's more "user friendly" to be inaccurate?

If that's the answer, then I'm done here.

AndreasJ
2010-Nov-15, 04:20 PM
Even with that correction, given what I see:



, I'd naturally assume that the sun cannot usually been seen as being disk-like in nature directly; indirect methods, such as the famous pinhole projection are less satisfying in a text to a general audience; and even if most people can directly some disc-like nature through the glare, very few people try more than once or twice (if that many) because it is a quite an aversive experience and they know that damage is possible from extended attempts to do so; while most people have, at least a few times in their lives, stared directly at the moon.

Have you never looked at the Sun through haze or thin cloud? I confess to surprise there exists astronomically interested persons who have not with their own eyes seen the Sun as a disc.

Ara Pacis
2010-Nov-15, 04:27 PM
I know this has already been pointed out, but I find it hard to imagine why you would assume that "stelle" was the Italian word for moon. I don't have a dictionary, but seems fairly obvious that "stelle" is star (as in "stellar"), and the word for moon in Italian is certainly "luna" or something sounding like that. "stelle Medicee" would mean "stars of the Medici," as in the royal house. And you have to remember that the word "star" originally meant any heavenly body (and it still does in many languages; in Japanese "hoshi" means "star," and the earth can be called a "hoshi"). So what Galileo was saying was a "Medici heavenly body."

Would Gallileo have been able to discern the disc shape of Jupiter's natural satellites? If they looked like point sources, he may have called them stars because they more resembled stars. Even as recently as two hundred years ago objects between Mars and Jupiter were called star-like because of the inability to resolve their discs in telescopes of the time.

BTW, in literature I think it's common to refer to the local star in which one orbits as the sun.

Ivan Viehoff
2010-Nov-15, 04:50 PM
I If there are languages that use "luna" for "moon" and don't distinguish definite objects, indefinite objects, and names grammatically, then tell us what they are.
Actually very few languages have articles (and a grammatical ending that provides a quality of definiteness, as in Swedish or Amharic, is considered to be an article). It just so happens that the ones that do include some of the most popular ones: English, Spanish, French, Arabic, Portuguese, German, Amharic, etc. Most languages with articles are in the Indo-European and Semitic language families, and not even all of them - eg, Russian, Czech, Polish, Hindi/Urdu, Persian (among many others) don't have articles. Outside those two language families, it's very unusual to find articles. So Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Turkish, Finnish, Hungarian, Malay, Tamil, Swahili, Thai, Vietnamese, etc, etc don't have articles. People brought up speaking such languages wonder what upon earth we need such useless words for, just to confuse them, no doubt.

My wife is Czech, so I just czeched the wikipedia pages for The Moon and Moon (Natural Satellite) in her language. They use just the same word for each. Seems you can get away with it even without articles. Presumably context makes clear, and if it doesn't, one just has to clarify it. In writing in Czech, the Moon is dignified with a capital letter, but of course many non-Roman writing systems don't have capital letters, and you can't hear it when speaking.

grant hutchison
2010-Nov-15, 04:54 PM
How often do we see other stars referred to as suns. You don't...because there is only one Sun.I seem to see this usage pretty frequently (which I believe was also George's implication). And in the exoplanet literature, we commonly see talk of "earths", "jupiters" and "neptunes", used as shorthand for terrestrial planets, gas giants and ice giants. In fact, pretty much the whole of language is built on transferring meanings in this way, and our brains are correspondingly nimble at coping with it.

Grant Hutchison

fagricipni
2010-Nov-15, 05:16 PM
... given what I see ... , I'd naturally assume that the sun cannot usually been seen as being disk-like in nature directly


Have you never looked at the Sun through haze or thin cloud?

Or at sunset/rise. But that was what that "cannot usually" part was about.


I confess to surprise there exists astronomically interested persons who have not with their own eyes seen the Sun as a disc.

Well, the telescope I received when I was 6 (30 years ago) included an eyepiece solar filter -- welders' glass, likely --; even at the young age of 6, I also realized that I could hold the eyepiece filter alone very near my eye and see the sun at its true angular size. I learned in retrospect that I was probably quite lucky to have never had it fail while being used in the telescope; as much as I used it, it had plenty of chance to while I was looking through it. I later replaced it with an objective end filter.


One can directly see its position against the star background during an eclipse, I am told.

Eclipses are an unusual situation.


And they had pretty decent models of the whole shebang--I think one theory of why it was hot in the summer was because the sun aligned with the brightest star, the dog star Sirius, to create the "dog days".

I never said that it would be hard for the educated ancients to indirectly infer the position of the sun with respect to the stars with observations that they could make; I just said that it wasn't directly visible.


As I've mentioned before, I have stared directly at the sun. It was during an eclipse, and I could see the change in shape "directly".

Two questions: How long did you stare? I doubt that I made it past 25 seconds because of my worries about damage. And how deep was the eclipse? The one that I tried it with was about 50% (and years before I became nearsighted).


But the pin-hole effect is all around you during an eclipse. Little dots of light shown through tree leaves turn into hundreds of crescents, as the moon slowly obscures the sun.

I have seen that, too.

Ara Pacis
2010-Nov-15, 05:29 PM
Eclipses are an unusual situation.

But if it is witnessed once, people will talk about it for generations.

grapes
2010-Nov-15, 08:23 PM
Or at sunset/rise. But that was what that "cannot usually" part was about.OFCOL :) Then, we cannot usually even see the moon. For two reasons, sometimes it's new and nearly invisible; and half the time it's on the other side of the earth!


Eclipses are an unusual situation.Almost everyone has a chance to see one, though.

I never said that it would be hard for the educated ancients to indirectly infer the position of the sun with respect to the stars with observations that they could make; I just said that it wasn't directly visible.But that takes care of the objection, though, doesn't it?


Two questions: How long did you stare? I doubt that I made it past 25 seconds because of my worries about damage. And how deep was the eclipse? The one that I tried it with was about 50% (and years before I became nearsighted).A lot less than 50%, the sun was just a tiny bit eclipsed.

It only takes a second to see the sun as a disc, or, during an eclipse, to see that it is not a complete disc, but yeah I stared at it a lot longer than that.

Ara Pacis
2010-Nov-15, 08:27 PM
Also, if you briefly look at the sun and then look away you'll see a disc-shaped afterimage.

PetersCreek
2010-Nov-15, 08:46 PM
Back to the OP, if a change is to be made, my vote goes to "Luna". Since that's my surname, I will of course assume and claim that the change was made in my honor. And really, why wouldn't it be? :razz:

More (and only a little more) seriously, the only problem I see with the current name is, it doesn't roll off the tongue without the article preceeding it. I assume we're not also discussing a change to "Terra" because "Earth" works with or without the "The". That is, "I'm from Earth" sounds okay but "I'm from Moon" sounds odd.

On the other hand, "Earth" does have another problem if we bring one of the anti-moon arguments into the mix. If "Moon" suffers as a result of its generic use, "Earth" suffers similarly for being used as a generic term for soil. "Hi, I'm from the planet, Dirt" doesn't sound very dignified.

kamaz
2010-Nov-15, 09:17 PM
I think that as I've said in those languages the use of the definite, indefinite, and no articles will disambiguate the cases; eg, in Spanish, "la luna" is "the moon", which defaults to Earth's moon but can be changed by using; eg, "of Pluto", etc; "una luna" is "a moon", "Luna" with no article is Earth's moon with no modification permitted.


You know, some of us speak languages which have no articles.

Not that it actually matters; people are used to such ambiguities. If a Canadian told you I am from America, you'd say he's lying, although technically he is correct.

George
2010-Nov-15, 09:23 PM
I seem to see this usage pretty frequently (which I believe was also George's implication). And in the exoplanet literature, we commonly see talk of "earths", "jupiters" and "neptunes", used as shorthand for terrestrial planets, gas giants and ice giants. In fact, pretty much the whole of language is built on transferring meanings in this way, and our brains are correspondingly nimble at coping with it. Yep. Simplified wording in communication is ubiquitous in all languages, excluding some of the more recondite abusers. Hearing "moon" paints the right picture and often the context is already established that it is not the "Moon". If I hear "satellite", however, without any context, I'll think "Sputnik" not a natural orb orbiting a planetary body.

George
2010-Nov-15, 09:41 PM
Well, the telescope I received when I was 6 (30 years ago) included an eyepiece solar filter -- welders' glass, likely --; even at the young age of 6, I also realized that I could hold the eyepiece filter alone very near my eye and see the sun at its true angular size. I learned in retrospect that I was probably quite lucky to have never had it fail while being used in the telescope; as much as I used it, it had plenty of chance to while I was looking through it. I later replaced it with an objective end filter. You were lucky. As a kid (45+ years ago), I nearly lost an eye to an eyepiece filter when it cracked in half as I was moving my eye into position.

As for the solar disk, early recordings of sunspots is another argument that the Sun was considered, at least by some, as an extended body. The earliest seems to go back to 800BC (Chinese). The first drawing of sunspots seems to have been by an English monk (John of Worcester) in 1128.

Ara Pacis
2010-Nov-15, 09:42 PM
If I hear moon without an article, I may also tend to think of certain sophomoric pranks.

kamaz
2010-Nov-15, 09:44 PM
That is, "I'm from Earth" sounds okay but "I'm from Moon" sounds odd.

That's only because your language works that way. In my language Jestem z Ziemi (I'm from Earth), Jestem z Księżyca (Moon) and Jestem z Marsa sound equally good (okay, except that the first one could be taken to mean soil/dirt, but that seems to be a more general problem, judging from the four languages that I know).

On the other hand, if I was on Callisto and someone said to me Jestem z Europy, then there's no way of telling if he means a continent or a Jovian moon, so I'd have to ask for clarification. The response could be Jestem z Księżyca, ale mieszkam na księżycu Jowisza (I am from [the] Moon, but I live on [a] Jupiter's moon; ignore the -a vs. -u ending, that's the grammar).

George
2010-Nov-15, 09:46 PM
If I hear moon without an article, I may also tend to think of certain sophomoric pranks. Speaking of word pictures... Hopefully, this constitutes the butt of your jokes. :)

fagricipni
2010-Nov-15, 09:51 PM
You know, some of us speak languages which have no articles.

Yes, but is the word for "moon" in it "luna"?

kamaz
2010-Nov-15, 10:15 PM
Yes, but is the word for "moon" in it "luna"?

For example in Russian, yes indeed (Луна).

fagricipni
2010-Nov-15, 10:15 PM
A lot less than 50%, the sun was just a tiny bit eclipsed.

It only takes a second to see the sun as a disc, or, during an eclipse, to see that it is not a complete disc, but yeah I stared at it a lot longer than that.

I have no problem with the idea that your vision in that respect is better than mine.

fagricipni
2010-Nov-15, 10:28 PM
For example in Russian, yes indeed (Луна).

Alright, then, I have to grant that there are modern languages in which naming Earth's moon "Luna" would not distinguish between the specific case of specifically referring to Earth's moon as opposed to referring to a natural satellite of a planet

Maybe, we could use the word "Selene" derived from the ancient Greek then, though, I now have to give people time to come up with examples of modern languages for which the same confusion would result by trying to use "Selene" as the name of Earth's moon.

publiusr
2010-Nov-15, 10:49 PM
For example in Russian, yes indeed (Луна).

That's my fav' spelling.

AndreasJ
2010-Nov-15, 11:35 PM
Or at sunset/rise. But that was what that "cannot usually" part was about.
The "usually" part is relevant why? To know the Sun presents a disc, it's enough to see it sometimes.



As for the solar disk, early recordings of sunspots is another argument that the Sun was considered, at least by some, as an extended body. The earliest seems to go back to 800BC (Chinese). The first drawing of sunspots seems to have been by an English monk (John of Worcester) in 1128.

Depictions of the Sun as a disc go a lot back further than that. Is there any indication at all that ancient people ever didn't regard the Sun as presenting a disc?

fagricipni
2010-Nov-16, 12:14 AM
The "usually" part is relevant why? To know the Sun presents a disc, it's enough to see it sometimes.

Depictions of the Sun as a disc go a lot back further than that. Is there any indication at all that ancient people ever didn't regard the Sun as presenting a disc?

I was giving one reason that Galileo referred to the planets as looking like small moons through a telescope: "The planets show their globes perfectly round and definitely bounded, looking like little moons, spherical and flooded all over with light."; not arguing about when the ancients first realized that the Sun presented a disk-like shape similar in apparent size to the Moon.

Jens
2010-Nov-16, 01:52 AM
Would Gallileo have been able to discern the disc shape of Jupiter's natural satellites? If they looked like point sources, he may have called them stars because they more resembled stars.

He wouldn't have been able to, but I don't think that's the reason. I think that in Galileo's days, star tended to mean "heavenly body", and the moon might have been called a star as well. The word planet comes from the term "wandering stars," and still today, as I've pointed out, in many languages a planet is called a star. This is true in Japanese. The earth can be called a "blue star."

grant hutchison
2010-Nov-16, 02:34 AM
I doubt if Galileo saw many point sources through his telescope. If I recall discussions of the optics correctly, he would have seen point sources as blurry discs.

Grant Hutchison

grapes
2010-Nov-16, 03:02 AM
I doubt if Galileo saw many point sources through his telescope. If I recall discussions of the optics correctly, he would have seen point sources as blurry discs.A lack of focus?

George
2010-Nov-16, 02:52 PM
A lack of focus?I think he did have an inner tube that adjusted for focusing. The lens quality is likely the bigger problem. He seemed to have either better quality glass (from Florence) or his grinding techniques were superior to others, or both. I suspect it was both. He eventually hired a person to help build his telescopes and, perhaps, build some of the other things he sold. There is little doubt that it was Galileo's telescopes that were the best. Kepler was only interested in getting one of his, though Galileo would not send him one.

Galileo's own drawings shows the "Medician stars" (stelle Medicee; I think if y'all'd sell me a vowell I could make "satellite" out of that.;) ) as star-like objects with his use of the astericks, which means "little star", none the less. :)

grant hutchison
2010-Nov-16, 04:44 PM
A lack of focus?Spherical aberration. His glass was also full of small bubbles, which scattered light. I think this scattering may have contributed to his choice of asterisks as place-markers in his illustrations.

Grant Hutchison

grapes
2010-Nov-18, 01:23 PM
Spherical aberration.Ah. This article says his telescope (http://cnx.org/content/m11932/latest/)was stopped down, for that reason.

DonM435
2010-Nov-18, 02:13 PM
Spherical aberration. His glass was also full of small bubbles, which scattered light. I think this scattering may have contributed to his choice of asterisks as place-markers in his illustrations.

Grant Hutchison

Indeed, Galileo was once heard to exclaim as he looked through his new telescope,

"My God! It's full of stars!"

Hornblower
2010-Nov-18, 03:13 PM
Is this a solution in search of a problem?

Herkfixer
2010-Nov-18, 03:22 PM
No... its just something that I was thinking about and decided to put it out there. To make an observation isn't searching for a problem. Apparently there are those who feel personally injured by the thought and/or just want to argue semantics instead of answering the actual question. I have noticed that a lot of people on this site argue more about how you phrased your question instead of the actual answer to the original question that was asked.

grant hutchison
2010-Nov-18, 03:30 PM
No... its just something that I was thinking about and decided to put it out there. To make an observation isn't searching for a problem. Apparently there are those who feel personally injured by the thought and/or just want to argue semantics instead of answering the actual question. I have noticed that a lot of people on this site argue more about how you phrased your question instead of the actual answer to the original question that was asked.I thought you phrased the question very clearly, and I haven't noticed anyone arguing about your phrasing.
But if you ask, "What say you BAUT?" you've got to expect to hear what BAUT says, probably at length. :)

Grant Hutchison

R.A.F.
2010-Nov-18, 03:37 PM
Apparently there are those who feel personally injured by the thought and/or just want to argue semantics instead of answering the actual question.

Your question was answered by Grant in the first response. If you have chosen not to accept that answer, well that's fine...you're free to believe whatever you want.

Jens
2010-Nov-19, 01:48 AM
No... its just something that I was thinking about and decided to put it out there. To make an observation isn't searching for a problem. Apparently there are those who feel personally injured by the thought and/or just want to argue semantics instead of answering the actual question. I have noticed that a lot of people on this site argue more about how you phrased your question instead of the actual answer to the original question that was asked.

Well it's true that the conversation drifted to the issue of Galileo's telescope, :) but still I think you got some valid responses. I think I stated clearly that it seems like something you could start doing if you like it, but that ultimately there's no way to enforce such a usage.

Ara Pacis
2010-Nov-19, 05:02 AM
Well it's true that the conversation drifted to the issue of Galileo's telescope, :) but still I think you got some valid responses. I think I stated clearly that it seems like something you could start doing if you like it, but that ultimately there's no way to enforce such a usage.

Sure there is. Short of taking over the world, you might become a political figure in Texas where a lot of textbooks are printed for the whole US and force the publishers to do it your way.

Fooglmog
2010-Nov-19, 09:12 AM
Sure there is. Short of taking over the world, you might become a political figure in Texas where a lot of textbooks are printed for the whole US and force the publishers to do it your way.
Standardizing something throughout the US is a far cry from doing so throughout the world -- as attested to by the popularity of the American system of measurement.

As for the topic of original discussion:

To suggest that use of the term "the moon" leaves room for confusion, as it could be misinterpreted for the commonly used generic term "moon", is fine. However, to suggest that the solution is simply to steal the generic term from another language and use that as the specific term for Earth's moon is blatant anglo-centrism. If this truly is an issue worth seeking a resolution for, the solution should not simply solve it for English speakers and loft it off onto others. I understand that language structure may allow for alternate methods of differentiating between the specific and generic terms, however, the fundamental issue persists.

In my opinion, we do not need to develop a new term for The Moon, nor do we need to do so for the term moon. Given the number of inconsistencies and opportunities for confusion within the English language, it seems ridiculous to single this one out as needing a solution. Humans are pretty good at parsing true meanings from context, and language seems to evolve reasonably quickly when confusion becomes too rampant. Why put effort into solving something that is not a significant issue and will solve itself if it ever were to become a significant issue? Especially when the solution you propose, the intentional engineering of language, has a dismal record of success when it's been attempted throughout history.

If you personally choose to start using another term for the moon, fine, it may catch on. But in the mean time, you're going to have to explain to everyone you meet that "Ogdushan" actually means Earth's moon... but since what you're trying to avoid is the possibility that someone on Mars, in some distant future, will have to explain that they mean Earth's moon when they say "The Moon"; your solution creates today the exact problem problem you want to avoid in the future and is, therefore, ultimately self-defeating.

agingjb
2010-Nov-19, 01:39 PM
It's probably irrelevant, but the earliest reference in English I can find to the companions of another planet is Swift's fictional (at the time) "two lesser stars, or satellites, which revolve about Mars".

Ivan Viehoff
2010-Nov-25, 02:59 PM
That is, "I'm from Earth" sounds okay but "I'm from Moon" sounds odd.
Not if you were from Moon, Kentucky.

George
2010-Nov-25, 03:26 PM
Not if you were from Moon, Kentucky. :) I'll bet that's not the only local joke. :)

Disinfo Agent
2010-Nov-25, 03:28 PM
I think that as I've said in those languages the use of the definite, indefinite, and no articles will disambiguate the cases; eg, in Spanish, "la luna" is "the moon", which defaults to Earth's moon but can be changed by using; eg, "of Pluto", etc; "una luna" is "a moon", "Luna" with no article is Earth's moon with no modification permitted.That's incorrect. In Spanish (and as far as I know in all those languages) the definite article is always used (la luna) regardless of whether one means Earth's Moon or some other moon.

In short: these languages employ the word "moon" in exactly the same way as English traditionally does -- and there's nothing wrong with that. There isn't even anything potentially misleading about it in practice, normally. To propose a different name is just splitting hairs.

Strange
2010-Nov-25, 05:15 PM
To propose a different name is just splitting hairs.

Or, in the far east, splitting hares.

Glom
2010-Nov-25, 06:48 PM
How about Bill?

Hlafordlaes
2010-Nov-25, 11:22 PM
I'll let you lunatics rename our famous neighbor, móna, if you'll also agree to go back to using heofoncandel for stars. So much more poetic than the lame latin-based term.

Disinfo Agent
2010-Nov-26, 10:14 AM
You knew it was coming, didn't you?... :D

"Star" is just as Anglo-Saxon as "heofoncandel" (though I admit that the latter is more poetic).


star (http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=star) (n.)
O.E. steorra, from P.Gmc. *sterron, *sternon [...]More, in fact, since it was "candle" that was borrowed from Latin:


candle (http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=candle)
O.E. candel "lamp, lantern, candle," an early ecclesiastical borrowing from L. candela "a light, torch, candle made of tallow or wax," from candere "to shine," from PIE base *kand- "to glow, to shine, to shoot out light" (cf. Skt. cand- "to give light, shine," candra- "shining, glowing, moon;" Gk. kandaros "coal;" Welsh cann "white;" M.Ir. condud "fuel").