A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding
From: Frank Reed
Date: 2018 Feb 27, 07:56 -0800
Yes, the first four minor planets were commonly called "planets" without qualification at this time. Herschel (if I remember correctly) suggested the name "asteroid" at an early date, but it was not considered an exclusionary term. In the early 19th century, if you were a child or an interested amateur studying astronomy, you would normally memorize a list of eleven planets. The list of principal planets might be counted as eleven, asteroids in, or seven, asteroids out, depending on the author's preference at that time. The planet Uranus was most commonly referred to in British sources as "The Georgian" (a variant on Herschel's original Latin choice, georgium sidus) until the 1840s. The four other planets were Ceres, Juno, Pallas, and Vesta. When Astraea and Hebe were discovered, astronomers began to realize the whole lot would need to be demoted to a lower category. Then things really got rolling in the 1850s and 60s. While Parisians still held parades for a while when a new minor planet was discovered, they were being mocked for it. I wonder when the last parade was held for the discoverer of a new minor planet? I mean, discounting Clyde Tombaugh, who reasonably thought that he had discovered a major planet when he found little Pluto. And when did they stop crafting astrological symbols for every new minor planet? I woud guess the parades and the symbols fell into disfavor around the same decade...
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