Astronomers have discovered a possible new dwarf planet: a cold, relatively tiny lump of ice traveling near the barrier where the sun loses all its gravitational influence.
The planet — 280 miles in diameter — is roughly the size of Wisconsin. And despite the planet’s relative smallness, this discovery has ignited astronomers’ excitement: Its existence and orbit may be able to tell us about the origins of the solar system.
But never mind all that. More importantly, the scientists gave the planet a nickname, and that name is “Biden.”
“The newfound object’s official name is 2012 VP113, but the discovery team calls it VP for short, or just ‘Biden,’ ” the journal Nature, which published the findings, reports.
Then this happened (click the photo):
It will be some time before the dwarf planet gets an official name. The International Astronomical Union needs iron-clad evidence that the celestial body does in fact exist and adheres to the definition of a dwarf planet.
But when it comes down to deciding, the planet’s name will not be Biden.
It won’t be for any fault in the vice president. Rather, according to the IAU, “names for persons or events known primarily for their military or political activities are acceptable only after 100 years elapsed since the person died or the event occurred.”
So there will be no Dwarf Planet Biden, Bush, Clinton, or Obama until the next century.
The IAU’s other planet-naming rules are wonderfully nerdy, and worth reading through. Those who find the planet are allowed to suggest a name, but the names are officially selected by a 15-judge committee.
Generally, the heavens employ a Roman theme. But in some circumstances, the rules are highly specific. For example (emphasis mine):
“¢ “Objects in orbits between the orbits of Jupiter and Neptune, and not in 1:1 resonance with any major planet, are to receive names of centaurs.”
“¢ “Objects in orbits in 3:2 resonance with Neptune are to receive names of underworld deities.”
“¢ “Names of pet animals are discouraged.”
“¢ “Names of a purely or principally commercial nature are not allowed.”
So no planet Verizon, either.
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Trump, in a statement: “Based on the fact that the Democratic nominating process is totally rigged and Crooked Hillary Clinton and Deborah Wasserman Schultz will not allow Bernie Sanders to win, and now that I am the presumptive Republican nominee, it seems inappropriate that I would debate the second place finisher. ... I will wait to debate the first place finisher in the Democratic Party, probably Crooked Hillary Clinton, or whoever it may be.”
"It's about time for unity," said UAW President Dennis Williams. "We're endorsing Hillary Clinton. She's gotten 3 million more votes than Bernie, a million more votes than Donald Trump. She's our nominee." He called Sanders "a great friend of the UAW" while saying Trump "does not support the economic security of UAW families." Some 28 percent of UAW members indicated their support for Trump in an internal survey.
"Donald Trump on Thursday reached the number of delegates needed to clinch the Republican nomination for president, completing an unlikely rise that has upended the political landscape and sets the stage for a bitter fall campaign. Trump was put over the top in the Associated Press delegate count by a small number of the party's unbound delegates who told the AP they would support him at the convention."
"Clinton and Bernie Sanders "are now devoting additional money to television advertising. A day after Sanders announced a new ad buy of less than $2 million in the state, Clinton announced her own television campaign. Ads featuring actor Morgan Freeman as well as labor leader and civil rights activist Dolores Huerta will air beginning on Fridayin Fresno, Sacramento, and Los Angeles media markets. Some ads will also target Latino voters and Asian American voters. The total value of the buy is about six figures according to the Clinton campaign." Meanwhile, a new poll shows Sanders within the margin of error, trailing Clinton 44%-46%.