Scenes from IANA's growing magician problem

I was unaware that the Unicode Consortium is the standards body with authority over Astrology and the Zodiac.

Objects orbiting the Sun outside the orbit of Neptune are named after mythological figures, particularly those associated with creation. But the subset that orbit in a two-to-three resonance with Neptune -- the so-called "plutinos", such as Pluto and Orcus -- are named after figures associated with the underworld. In this case, the five TNOs, ordered by distance from the sun, are named:

  • Orcus: the Etruscan and Roman god of the underworld.
  • Haumea: the Hawaiian goddess of fertility; the telescope used to discover this object is located on Hawaiʻi.
  • Quaoar: an important mythological figure of the Tongva, the indigenous people who originally occupied the land where CalTech is located.
  • Makemake: the creator god of the Rapanui of Easter Island.
  • Gonggong: a destructive Chinese water god.

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5 Responses:

  1. yomikoma says:

    As the magician in question, let me know if you want more details about how this happened. :)

    • Tarragon says:

      I would.

      • yomikoma says:

        I've been creating unofficial symbols for large TNOs, notable satellites, and non-zodiac constellations since 2005 - I just post them on my admittedly-web-1.0 site.  Since not many other people are doing this, the few artists, astrologers, Sailor Moon fans, and other outliers who want such symbols generally find mine.  I explicitly release them to the public domain so they can be used for anything, though I do maintain a page for sightings of them elsewhere.

        The Eris (not actually mine but I promote it) and Sedna symbols caught on enough with astrologers that they showed up in books and programs, so someone put it a unicode request for them and they were added to Unicode in 2018 - I didn't find out about those until an artist I follow included Eris in a font.

        Last year, someone at NASA put out a poster about the dwarf planets that included the five symbols listed above.  Another unicode enthusiast contacted me about helping create a proposal to encode them, though I didn't end up doing much beyond providing outlines for an example font. (The proposal includes many other uses beyond the NASA poster but I think that was the tipping point.)  It was accepted and the Unicode folks thought it was interesting enough to promote it like this.

  2. thielges says:

    I thought that Makemake was the god of convoluted recursive software build environments.

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