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Girl Who Named Pluto, At 11, Dies At 90 158

notthepainter notes the passing of the woman who, as an 11-year-old girl, named Pluto. "Frozen and lonely, Planet X circled the far reaches of the solar system awaiting discovery and a name. It got one thanks to an 11-year-old British girl named Venetia Burney, an enthusiast of the planets and classical myth. On March 14, 1930, the day newspapers reported that the long-suspected 'trans-Neptunian body' had been photographed for the first time, she proposed to her well-connected grandfather that it be named Pluto, after the Roman god of the underworld. Venetia Phair, as she became by marriage, died April 30 in her home in Banstead, in the county of Surrey, England. She was 90. ... More vexing to Mrs. Phair was the persistent notion that she had taken the name from the Disney character. 'It has now been satisfactorily proven that the dog was named after the planet, rather than the other way around,' she told the BBC. 'So, one is vindicated.' " Venetia's great-uncle Henry, who was a housemaster at Eton, had successfully proposed that the two dwarf moons of Mars be named Phobos and Deimos.
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Girl Who Named Pluto, At 11, Dies At 90

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  • by Ian Alexander ( 997430 ) on Tuesday May 12, 2009 @10:27PM (#27932411)

    And poor Hades was stuck with the underworld.

    Yah, cause Satan is so thrilled with Hell [wikipedia.org].

    Maybe the link between Hell and Hades had to do with its portrayals in verse. I remember in the Odyssey, when Odysseus called up all the dead spirits trying to find Teiresias (or however the hell you spell it), NOBODY liked Hades, and from the sound of it he talked to like everybody who died in the Iliad and then some. Surely one or two of the people he talked to would have gone to the nicer spots out of random chance? Like maybe one of the Aiantes?

  • Auden (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 12, 2009 @10:32PM (#27932457)

    Lost on a fog-bound spit of sand
    In shoes that pinched me, across the strand
    I hear the plosh of Charon's oar,
    Who ferrys no one to a happy shore.

  • Re:God speed (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ctmurray ( 1475885 ) on Tuesday May 12, 2009 @11:30PM (#27932947) Journal
    I agree. Tonight's shows on the Science HD channel was about the probe being sent to Pluto, and they brought up how the planet (now considered a dwarf officially) was named. Lots of interest in these outer objects as the belt where they come from may help explain more how our solar system was formed.
  • Re:God speed (Score:4, Interesting)

    by syousef ( 465911 ) on Tuesday May 12, 2009 @11:40PM (#27933009) Journal

    She outlived her planet.

    She outlived the classification of the body she named as a planet. You do realize that if the IAU called Pluto a Turnip (which sadly makes about as much sense as their definition of Planet) it would make no difference whatsoever to the body itself. The odds are pretty good that Pluto will outlive the human race.

  • by hoofie ( 201045 ) <graeme@g[ ]meandkim.com ['rae' in gap]> on Wednesday May 13, 2009 @03:08AM (#27934303)
    My wife [a senior nurse] came home from work one day about 4 years ago saying that she and her staff had been looking after an old lady on a ward at Epsom General Hospital. One of the surgeons pointed her out and said she was rather special since had named the planet Pluto. Apparently the old lady was very pleasant and polite but hadn't told anyone of her claim to fame.

    Not really believing this story I googled a bit and found a name. My wife refused to tell me the name of the woman but when I said 'Venetia Phair' she was very surprised as she thought the whole thing was a massive wind-up.

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