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View Full Version : How do I read astronomical catalog object names?



Tom Mazanec
2010-Dec-02, 07:54 AM
For example, is Wolf 351 "Wolf three-five-one" or "Wolf three-hundred-fifty-one"?

Jens
2010-Dec-02, 08:18 AM
For example, is Wolf 351 "Wolf three-five-one" or "Wolf three-hundred-fifty-one"?

How about Wolf three fifty-one? That would seem most natural to me, like street addresses. We read three-digit dates that way, so it seems to make sense. It might depend on the person, though, and even perhaps on the number. For example, I say "seven forty-seven" for the airplane, but somehow "seven seventy-seven" sounds funny, so I think people say a "triple seven" or something like that.

Romanus
2010-Dec-03, 12:30 AM
I recall an old astronomy program on PBS--probably The Astronomers--in which a group of astronomers repeatedly bring up NGC 1275, a peculiar galaxy that was the focus of their research; without fail, they said "twelve-seventy-five". Of course, it depends on how many digits you're working with; with something like HD 209458, you'd better find a nickname. ;)

Strange
2010-Dec-03, 12:35 AM
I suspect there are regional/national differences. I'm pretty sure most British English speakers would say "Wolf three-five-one" (the standard term for the plane here is seven-four-seven; although, oddly, we do have the Airbus three-eighty) and "NGC one-two-seven-five". Although, if was a year it would be twelve-seventyfive. Hmmm...