1555: Exoplanet Names 2
|Exoplanet Names 2|
Title text: I'm going to drive this Netherlands joke so far into the ground they'll have to build levees around it to keep the sea out.
This comic is a continuation of 1253: Exoplanet Names, and was published the day after NASA announced the discovery of a number of planets, including a planet called a cousin to Earth, Kepler-452b. Black Hat proposes naming it Pluto, to commemorate the flyby of the dwarf planet of that name by NASA's New Horizons earlier the same month. He admits this alternative to end the discussion about the status of Pluto, which is subject to debate among both scientists and laypeople over whether-or-not it should be considered a planet. Pluto was considered a planet for a long period of time until, in 2005, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) created a new definition for the word 'planet' designed to exclude Pluto and similar objects, resulting in much debate (The IAU is the organization that takes responsibility for naming celestial bodies like planets, stars, and much more).
It may appear that, with Black Hat's suggestion, the answer to the question "is Pluto a planet?" will therefore always be "yes", regardless of the status of the Pluto in our Solar System according to the IAU. However the same IAU official definition that excludes Pluto also states that a 'planet' has to orbit our sun, so according to the IAU, nothing in this comic is a planet (the IAU definition only allows them to be exoplanets, which, like dwarf planets, are not planets). Hence, the debate indeed becomes 'a little more confusing'. This is in line with Black Hat's characterisation as a mischief-maker.
The title text is referring to the planet name entry Netherlands VI for the star EPIC 201912552. Randall thus continues his references to the Dutch people taking over the world and then the universe after the earth's oceans has been drained and transported to Mars. This happens in two consecutive What if?'s, Drain the Oceans and Drain the Oceans: Part II, was referenced in Dropping a Mountain, and was referenced again the week before this comic in 1551: Pluto. Due to a drain in the Earth's ocean the Netherlands does not have to worry about getting flooded anymore and since it now does not have to use all its resources preventing floods, it can use these to conquer the world (including Antarctica becoming South Netherlands). Then it takes on Mars (which becomes New Netherlands), and then a section of Pluto (again calling it New Netherlands). There is also a possible reference to 1519: Venus, but that comic has no direct relation to the conquests of the Dutch people like in the other three references. It should be mentioned, that New Netherland was actually a Dutch colony with New York City, formerly known as New Amsterdam, as its capital. So the name "New Netherlands" is "historically correct", while "Netherlands VI" isn't.
In the title text Randall mentioned that he will continue with this Netherlands joke driving it so far into the ground, (i.e. way beyond the point where it stops being funny), that they (the Dutch people) will have to build levees (or dykes) around it to keep the sea out - thus making it funny again... By forcing the Dutchmen to build new levees for this reason, the whole issue with their conquest of the world will be over before it happens.
This table explains each entry in the comic table. The "Status" column refers to the comic 1253: Exoplanet Names, and indicates if the entry was already in that version (Old), if it is an addition since then (New) or if the entry has been updated (Update).
|Gliese 667||b||Old||Space Planet||A very unimaginative name; every planet is in space.|
|c||Old||PILF||Pun of MILF, i.e. Planet I'd Like to Fuck. Planet c is a relatively hot planet, within the habitable zone.|
|d||Old||A Star||"A Star" is obviously a bad name for a planet. A* (pronounced "A star") is already used in astronomy, for example the Milky Way's black hole core is Sagittarius A*. "A star" is also the name for the character asterisk and the name of the popular A* search algorithm in computer science.|
|e||Old||e'); DROP TABLE PLANETS;--||Mrs. Roberts is probably trying to use SQL injection like in Exploits of a Mom, in which her son Robert'); DROP TABLE students;-- caused the school a lot of trouble when his name was put in. The idea here is that the IAU would enter the name into their system and promptly lose all of their data pertaining to planets. Note that Planet e is located in the habitable zone of the star system.|
|f||Old||Blogosphere||Weird blog-related terms are a recurring theme in xkcd. See, for instance, comic 181.|
|h||Old||Earth||Planet candidate h is about the mass of the Earth, and described as "tantalizing": A dynamically-packed planetary system around GJ with three super-Earths in its habitable zone. See also (1231: Habitable Zone). Like several other names below, naming a second planet Earth would be highly confusing.|
|Tau Ceti||b||Old||Sid Meier's Tau Ceti B||This refers to the game Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri.|
|c||Old||Giant Dog Planet||VY Canis Majoris is one of the largest known stars at our galaxy and belongs to the constellation Canis Major, Latin for "greater dog". The constellation further contains Sirius, the brightest star in the night sky, also called "Dog Star".|
|d||Old||Tiny Dog Planet||cf. Canis Minor, Latin for "lesser dog", another constellation.|
|e||Old||Phil Plainet||A reference to Phil Plait, a.k.a. The Bad Astronomer.|
|f||Old||Unicode Snowman||The Unicode character ☃ may be a reference to the planet's estimated surface temperature of -40 °C (-40 °F). However, this name would be pronounced differently (being a symbol, not a word or name) in different languages. Planets in our solar system are assigned to astronomical symbols like ♁ for Venus or ♂ for Mars.|
|Gliese 832||b||Old||Asshole Jupiter||This massive planet orbits a red dwarf star at the longest known period of 3416 days at this category. Many exoplanets are described as "Hot Jupiters" because they are high-temperature gas giants; if one were to read "hot" as a description of attractiveness rather than temperature, one might generate names like this one.|
|c||New||Waterworld starring Kevin Costner||Waterworld is a 1995 film starring Kevin Costner about Earth almost completely covered in water. The surname was previously spelled incorrectly with a 'K'.|
|Gliese 581||b||Old||Waist-deep Cats||Waist Deep is an action film from 2006, and the Lolcat meme does not need explaining. The name may also simply be a reference to being "waist-deep" in (i.e. surrounded by many) cats.|
|c||Old||Planet #14|| About 200th discovered exoplanet (in 2007); reported to be the first potentially Earth-like planet in the habitable zone of its star, though that is in doubt now. The joke might be that like "Space Planet", "Planet #14" is a generic and unoriginal name, although it could plausibly be a reference to Planet 14, a potential homeworld of the Cybermen in the long-running science-fiction series Doctor Who. Also of note is that this is the 15th entry in the original table so the numbering is zero-based.
An interesting (?) coincidence is that the 14th and 15th Minor planets (then called asteroids) were discovered in 1851; see see List of minor planets: 1–1000. If they were to be counted among the planets of the Solar System, as was sometimes done then, the 14th known planetary body would be Iris (discovered in 1847, a year before Neptune).
|d||Old||Ballderaan||A crude pun on the planet Alderaan from the Star Wars universe.|
|e||Old||Eternia Prime||Eternia is a fictional planet, venue of the Masters of the Universe animated series and toy collection.|
|f||Old||Taupe Mars||Kim Stanley Robinson's award-winning Mars trilogy (Red Mars, Green Mars, Blue Mars after various stages of terraformation). Taupe is a brownish-grey colour.|
|g||Old||Jelly-Filled Planet||Possibly a reference to the conjecture that this tidally locked planet has an isolated habitable zone under the substellar point, akin to the pocket of jelly in a jelly doughnut.|
|Epsilon Eridani||b||Old||Skydot||SkyDOT is the Sky Database for Objects in Time-Domain run by LANL for the U.S. Dept. of Energy and includes data for Epsilon Eridani that can be used to constrain the orbital parameters of ε Eri b. It may also refer to how objects in space may appear as bland, bright dots in the night sky.|
|c||Old||Laser Noises||A Laser does not produce noise in the signal sense; it only works at a well defined frequency. In science fiction films, however, laser weapon discharges are usually accompanied by sound. Sun-like Epsilon Eridani became a popular setting for science fiction after its publicity as a target of the Project Ozma experiment.|
|Gliese 176||b||Old||Pandora||The mythological name Pandora fulfills most of IAU's guidelines and has been popular for planets in science fiction; most recently and famously is the venue of James Cameron's Avatar (although actually it is not a planet but just a moon of a gas giant in Alpha Centauri A). It is also a hellish planet from Frank Herbert's WorShip series of novels, a jungle planet in Brothers Strugatsky's Noon Universe and the planet used in Borderlands Games.|
|c||Old||Pantera||A near homophone of Pandora, possibly named for the heavy metal band, which was named for the Italian sports car, which was named for the panther.|
|Kepler-61||b||Old||GoldenPalace.com||A gambling website, known for paying to have their name in unusual places (like forehead tattoos, species names...).|
|Groombridge 34A||b||New||Hot Mess||This is a reference to the phrase hot mess, meaning a person who is dishevelled but nevertheless attractive.|
|Kepler-442||b||New||Seas of Toothpaste|
|Gliese-422||b||New||This one weird planet||Most likely a reference to clickbait articles found on the internet.|
|EPIC-201367065||b||New||Sulawesi||An island in the Indonesian archipelago. Including it in non-Earth maps is an xkcd running gag.|
|c||New||Huge Soccer Ball|
|d||New||Geodude||Geodude is a Pokémon characterised by its ball-like shape. It resembles a clump of rocks.|
|Kepler-296||b||New||Kerbal Space Planet||Kerbal Space Program is a game where model rockets are launched on a scale version of the Earth. It has been referenced in xkcd a number of times (in the title text of 1106: ADD, in 1244: Six Words, as a part of 1350: Lorenz and in 1356: Orbital Mechanics). Note, though, that the actual planet corresponding to the Earth in the game is called "Kerbin".|
|c||New||A$aplanet||Most probably a pun on the rap group A$AP Mob and their most prominent member A$AP Rocky. May also be a pun on Kesha, also written as Ke$ha. In that case the c of the planet's designation would belong to the name.|
|d||New||Jurassic World||Jurassic World is the most recent movie in the Jurassic Park series.|
|e||New||This Land||Reference to Wash's dialogue in the pilot episode of Firefly. Or perhaps the folk song "This Land is Your Land", written and made famous by Woody Guthrie.|
|f||New||Springfield||The name of the town in which animated sitcom The Simpsons is set; possibly a reference to the running joke that the state in which Springfield is located has never been named.|
|HR 7722||b||New||Betelgeuse||Betelgeuse is a star in the constellation Orion. It is commonly (at least by speakers of English) pronounced as "beetlejuice". Beetlejuice, however is a film directed by Tim Burton from 1988. Similarly to Dune/Arrakis (see Gliese 180) and the two Uranuses (see Kepler-283), naming two planets with names that are generally regarded to be identical would cause severe confusion in astronomical discussions.|
|EPIC 201912552||b||New||Netherlands VI||The title text references this entry. See the explanation of the title text above the table entry.|
|Gliese 3293||b||New||Antispit||In the comic Homestuck there is a luminous moon named Prospit|
|c||New||Google Earth||Google Earth is a service, similar to Google Maps, which projects satellite data on a 3D globe that can be zoomed in on. Other features, such as models of buildings, can also appear.|
|d||New||Planet of the Apes (disambiguation)||The way a Wikipedia article would be titled, for example, to distinguish from the the original novel, the first film, the Tim Burton remake and the reboot series. In each adaptation, a group of astronauts lands on what is believed to be a "Planet of the Apes", which turns out to be a post-apocalyptic Earth. A Wikipedia page for this planet would itself conflict with an existing disambiguation page, possibly requiring a second-level disambiguation page to be created.|
|Kepler-283||b||New||ˈjʊərənəs||Two alternative pronunciations (written in International Phonetic Alphabet) for the planet name Uranus; the first one translates as "YU-ri-nus" ("urine-us"), while the second translates as "yu-RAIN-us" ("your anus"). The first pronunciation (being the same as how the Greek god is pronounced in English) is preferred by astronomers, but both are commonly heard. Similarly to Dune/Arrakis (see Gliese 180) and Betelgeuse/Beetlejuice (see HR 7722), naming two planets with names that are generally regarded to be identical would cause severe confusion in astronomical discussions.|
|Upsilon Andromedae||b||New||Fourthmeal||Taco Bell has an ad campaign adding a meal after dinner. Possibly also a reference to Hobbits and seven daily meals. This entry was misspelled Andromidae in the first comic (and also in the first released version of this one, see trivia.) Although the star was mentioned in the previous chart, this entry "b" was not. In that comic the chart was shown as a part of a list. And the b entry was above the cut-off line. So the next object was also called "c" in the previous chart.|
|c||Old||Stampy||The name of the elephant from the Simpsons episode Bart Gets an Elephant.|
|d||Old||Moonchild||The name Bastian gives the Childlike Empress in The Neverending Story.|
|e||Old||Ham Sphere||HamSphere is a Ham Radio simulator program. Ham radio uses designated radio frequencies for non-commercial exchange of messages and more. A pun of Hemisphere.|
|HD 20794||b||Old||Cosmic Sands||A pun on the name of the font Comic Sans. (See also: 590: Papyrus.)|
|c||Old||Legoland||Legoland is a chain of theme parks owned by the Lego Group. Potentially a reference to the movie The World's End, in which the protagonist Gary King tells the alien invaders to "get in your rocket and fuck off back to Legoland".|
|d||Old||Planet with Arms||A reference to the early covers of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy? Could also be a reference to "Birds with Arms" meme.|
|HD 85512||b||Old||Lax Morality||Possibly a parody of science fiction in which certain planets are suggested to be uniformly lax in morals (i.e. full of sex, drugs, etc.). See http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/Planetville and related. Or, possibly a reference to GCU Grey Area.|
|HD 40307||b||Old||Good Planet||Similar to the above, except with good planets. May also be yet another non-descriptive name, like "Space Planet" and "Planet #14".|
|c||Old||Problemland||See above. Also may be a reference to Iceland/Greenland naming scheme, where Problemland may actually be a better place to visit than "Good Planet."|
|d||Old||Slickle||This is a reference to "The Petals Fall Twice" (possibly NSFW), which was made as a humorous example of bad fan-fiction. The word itself is a portmanteau of "slowly", "licked", and "tickled".|
|e||Old||Spare Parts||This suggests that the planet is "worthless" or "junk". This is false, of course. May be a reference to the fact it is a planet with nothing much different from the other planets.|
|f||Old||New Jersey VI||Refers to the state of New Jersey; may be an insult to either.|
|g||Old||How Do I Join the IAU||This implies that the user "got lost" on the IAU website and thought that the "planet name suggestion" input was for general queries.|
|Gliese 163||b||Old||Neil Tyson's Mustache||Neil deGrasse Tyson is a famous American astrophysicist and science communicator who does maintain a distinguished mustache.|
|c||Old||[email protected]||Similar to "How Do I Join the IAU", this implies that the user confused the "planet suggestion" text box for a new email they are trying to send|
|d||Old||Hair-Covered Planet||Refers to the well-known Hairy ball theorem of topology.|
|Pi Mensae||b||Old||Moon Holder||Jupiter has more than 60 discovered moons, and still counting... A planet ten times more massive must also be a Moon Holder.|
|HD 189733||b||Old||Permadeath||A well-characterized "Hot Jupiter" at a temperature range of 973 ± 33 K to 1,212 ± 11 K. The name refers to the feature of Permanent death common in many RPGs and roguelikes. Or may reference permafrost, which has also been discussed in the comic.|
|Kepler-22||b||Old||Blue Ivy||Blue Ivy Carter is the daughter of musicians Beyoncé and Jay-Z.|
|KOI-2474||b||New||Store-Brand Earth||A Store brand is a line of products branded by a retailer. They have a reputation for being lower quality than other brands, and are often marketed similarly to other brands. This is implying that this is a cheaper version of Earth. (This entry replaced the completely different entry Kepler-3284b Blainsley from the previous chart).|
|Kepler-437||b||Update||Unicorn Thresher||As far as we can tell, Kepler-437b is in the vicinity of the constellation Monoceros, aka the Unicorn. (This was labeled Kepler-3255b in the previous chart)|
|KOI-2418||b||Old||Spherical Discworld||The Discworld is the fictional setting for British author Terry Pratchett's Discworld series of humorous fantasy novels; it consists of a large disc supported by four elephants themselves standing on top of a turtle flying through space. The joke being that the planet could not be spherical and disc-shaped at the same time. (Was listed as Kepler-2418 in the previous chart).|
|Kepler-438||b||Update||Emergency Backup Earth||This candidate planet has an Earth Similarity Index of 0.89, making it one of the most habitable Kepler object of interest. The name suggests that it could be used as a backup in case something happened to our current planet. (Was listed as Kepler-1686 in the previous chart; Kepler-1686 b was proven to be a false positive by NASA in 2015).|
|KOI-3010||b||Old||Feeeoooooooop||Possibly the onomatopoeia for something getting sucked into a black hole.|
|Kepler-442||b||Old||Liz||Just a regular name (for a person, not a planet). Maybe a reference to the Magic School Bus.|
|82 Eridani||b||New||Horsemeat Surface||A reference to the 2013 meat adulteration scandal, where horsemeat was found in burgers alleging to contain beef. This planet's name suggests that the surface of the entire planet would also contain improperly declared horsemeat.|
|c||New||The Moon||This name would cause confusion with the Earth's moon, which in English is called The Moon. It is also a poor name choice as 82 Eridani c is not a moon, but a planet.|
|d||New||Constant Saxophones||May refer to the fact that there are lots of different kinds of saxophones. A Constant Saxophone may only be able to play one note, while several Constant Saxophones tuned to different notes could assemble the tone range of either normal saxophone. Constant Saxophones could also imply that Saxophone music is played constantly, everywhere on the planet. This could get tiresome for the residents of the planet.|
|HD 102365||b||New||Little Big Planet||This refers to the videogame LittleBigPlanet.|
|Gliese 180||b||New||Dune||Both references to Frank Herbert's Dune book series. The planet Arrakis (informally referred to as 'Dune') is the central planet in the mythology, where the mind-enhancing substance 'spice' comes from. Use of spice enables, among others, supercomputing-like mental computation as well as hyperspace navigation. Having two neighbouring planets with names that are historically used to refer to a single planet would sow further confusion in the already extensive catalog of planet names. This is similarly to Betelgeuse/Beetlejuice (see HR 7722) and the two Uranuses (see Kepler-283).|
|Fomalhaut||b||New||Swarm of Bees||From Wikipedia: Fomalhaut b could be a conglomeration of rubble from a recent collision between comet-to-asteroid-sized bodies and not actually identify a planet.|
|Kepler-62||b||New||Sporty||A reference to the Spice Girls. See also the previous comic, 1554: Spice Girls, where Megan was unable to list the members of this pop group. In this case the names are correct, and would give Megan a new and interesting reason to remember them. Kepler-62f is a super-Earth-size planet, that may be potentially habitable. Kepler-62e is a possible water world.|
|HD 69830||b||New||Planet.xxx||.xxx is a controversial top level domain (like to .com and .net) that is intended to distinguish porn sites from other types of website. Planet X is the name for a still undiscovered planet in our solar system, a common theme both in real science and fiction. The search for "Planet X" lead, by chance, to the discovery of Pluto.|
|c||New||Novella||A novella is a form of prose with length between a short story and a novel. Common examples of novellas are romance literature centering around intense lustful encounters in cheap paperback books, though also 'serious' literature may be in novella form.|
|d||New||Sexoplanet||Like the other two planets orbiting this star, the "69" in the stars designation has lead to a sex joke: All planets in this comic are "exo-planets", planets not orbiting our sun. Adding a single "s" in front results in immature humor.|
|Gliese 682||b||New||Verdant Hellscape||A contradictory name. "Verdant" usually signifies to be lush with green plant life, while "hellscape" describes a desolate landscape destroyed by heat and cataclysm.|
|c||New||Unsubscribe||On YouTube, "subscribers" (people who get updates on a person's channel) are highly valued, and to "unsubscribe" from anyone is deemed to be offensive. "Unsubscribe" is also the command one sends to Electronic mailing lists to stop receiving said mailing list. In this sense it may imply a desire to no longer be bothered with these silly discussions around planet-names. Like "[email protected]" and "How do I join the IAU", "unsubscribe" is a frequently seen accidental message on the Internet in contexts where it is not going to work as a command.|
|Kepler-452||b||New||Pluto||This is the planet Black Hat is referring to at the top of the table.|
- [Black Hat points with a stick at a slide showing an image of a planet with unknown features marked by questions marks.]
- Black Hat: NASA has announced the discovery of a (super-)Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a sun-like star.
- Black Hat: I suggest we name this planet "Pluto", both to celebrate the great work by the New Horizons team, and to make the stupid "Is Pluto a planet" debate a little more confusing
- While we wait to hear from the IAU,
- here's a revised and updated list of
- planet name suggestions (see xkcd.com/1253)
- New or updated entries in red
- [The table is in three separate columns. There is a small arrow pointing at the second column, named "Planet", indicating the planet's name corresponding to the star at the first row. The third column shows the planet name suggestions.]
Star Planet Suggested Name Gliese 667 b Space Planet c PILF d A Star e e'); DROP TABLE PLANETS;-- f Blogosphere g Blogodrome h Earth Tau Ceti b Sid Meier's Tau Ceti B c Giant Dog Planet d Tiny Dog Planet e Phil Plainet f Unicode Snowman Gliese 832 b Asshole Jupiter c Waterworld starring Kevin Costner Gliese 581 b Waist-deep Cats c Planet #14 d Ballderaan e Eternia Prime f Taupe Mars g Jelly-Filled Planet Epsilon Eridani b Skydot c Laser Noises Gliese 176 b Pandora c Pantera Kepler-61 b GoldenPalace.com Groombridge 34A b Hot Mess Kepler-442 b Seas of Toothpaste Gliese-442 b This one weird planet EPIC-201367065 b Sulawesi c Huge Soccer Ball d Geodude Kepler-296 b Kerbal Space Planet c A$aplanet d Jurassic World e This Land f Springfield HR 7722 b Betelgeuse c Beetlejuice EPIC 201912552 b Netherlands VI Gliese 3293 b Antispit c Google Earth d Planet of the Apes (disambiguation) Kepler-283 b ˈjʊərənəs c jʊˈreɪnəs Upsilon Andromedae b Fourthmeal c Stampy d Moonchild e Ham Sphere HD 20794 b Cosmic Sands c Legoland d Planet with Arms HD 85512 b Lax Morality HD 40307 b Good Planet c Problemland d Slickle e Spare Parts f New Jersey VI g How Do I Join the IAU Gliese 163 b Neil Tyson's Mustache c [email protected] d Hair-Covered Planet Pi Mensae b Moon Holder HD 189733 b Permadeath Kepler-22 b Blue Ivy KOI-2474 b Store-Brand Earth Kepler-437 b Unicorn Thresher KOI-2418 b Spherical Discworld Kepler-438 b Emergency Backup Earth KOI-3010 b Feeeoooooooop Kepler-442 b Liz 82 Eridani b Horsemeat Surface c The Moon d Constant Saxophones HD 102365 b Little Big Planet Gliese 180 b Dune c Arrakis Fomalhaut b Swarm of Bees Kepler-62 b Sporty c Baby d Scary e Ginger f Posh HD 69830 b Planet.xxx c Novella d Sexoplanet Gliese 682 b Verdant Hellscape c Unsubscribe Kepler-452 b Pluto
- The IPA character for stress is a vertical line ˈ. Randall uses a slanted line similar to acute accent ´ or prime ′.
- There were three errors in the original version of this comic. These were corrected later the same day.
- The three errors were:
- Waterworld starring Kevin Kostner (Kostner instead of Costner)
- Upsilon Andromidae (Andromidae instead of Andromedae)
- Formalhaut (Formalhaut instead of Fomalhaut)
- Later after the initial release of this comic Randall added a link to this page. It's viewable in the HTML-source or here: https://xkcd.com/1555/info.0.json. The text is: "Full explanation & dissection & transcription available http:\n\nwww.explainxkcd.com\nwiki\nindex.php\n1555".
A Unicode snowman is also referenced in Randall's book What If, where it is keymapped to a laptop.
Randall has also poked fun at the Netherlands in Drain the Oceans, where the Netherlands, no longer worrying about a cataclysmic flood, take over the world, and in Drain the Oceans: Part II, where the Netherlands use the portal to colonize Mars. See the https://what-if.xkcd.com/archive/ for more details.
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