Talk:Provisional designation in astronomy

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I think this page's title should be Provisional designations of asteroids. If no-one disagrees, I'll change it soon. The Singing Badger 18:30, 3 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Are you worried about disambiguation? Shouldn't it be Provisional designation (astronomy) or some such? On the other hand, "provisional designation" returns 5080 Google hits, while "provisional designation" + asteroid returns 2580 Google hits, so the dominant meaning of provisional designation is the asteroid (astronomical) meaning, so perhaps the current title is just fine (according to Wikipedia:Disambiguation). -- hike395 02:39, 4 Mar 2005 (UTC)
I guess it doesn't matter then. It just seemed odd to me, since asteroids aren't the only things in the world of science that might receive a provisional designation. But if they're the dominant meaning then there's no need to change. 14:38, 4 Mar 2005 (UTC)

I would tend to agree that the title should make reference to what's being provisionally designated, just for the sake of clarity. However, shouldn't this article be merged with astronomical naming conventions? Worldtraveller 16:00, 30 July 2005 (UTC)

I looked at astronomical naming conventions: the detail in this article is much more than the detail over there --- I would keep them separate.
Re title: how about if we make a first line that points to a (now non-existent) dab page? That way, the first line of the article says "asteroid" explicitly. --- hike395 00:02, July 31, 2005 (UTC)

I'm really not keen on inserting such a prominent redlink. I can't see any strong reason not to simply move the article to Provisional designation of comets and asteroids, which is much clearer and helpful to the reader than simply 'provisional designation', I think. Worldtraveller 00:25, 31 July 2005 (UTC)

This article just follows the policy described at Wikipedia:Disambiguation, under Page naming. From my Google experiment (above), I believe that "Provisional designation" mainly refers to asteroids (2580 hits), but could have other meanings (5080-2580=2500 hits). Under the policy, we should not qualify the name of this page (analogously to calling "Rome" Rome, rather than Rome, Italy). Other meanings can be referred to from Provisional desgination (disambiguation), when someone decides to add it.
I would not oppose a redir from Provisional designation of comets and asteroids to here, that would make things clearer. However, adding the extra words to the title of the article directly will just make it harder to find by readers, especially considering that full-text search is disabled (again).
-- hike395 02:25, July 31, 2005 (UTC)

Seems to me the applicable policy is Wikipedia:Naming conventions#Be precise when necessary, which says 'Please, do not write or put an article on a page with an ambiguously named title as though that title had no other meanings'. When I first clicked on a link to this article I did not expect at all that it would refer specifically to astronomy, and I think it makes an article much more useful if one can understand from the title what it's referring to. I only clicked on it because I thought it looked likely to be an inappropriate link which should be fixed, so actually not specifying in the title what is being provisionally designated can make it harder to find by readers. I'm not sure I see how it could make it easier to find. Worldtraveller 12:51, 1 August 2005 (UTC)

OBJECT. Provisional designation is being misconstrued here. Above where a writer writes asteroids aren't the only things in the world of science that might receive a provisional designation, clearly shows a misunderstanding. I think there is a confusion in general with the concept of temporary nomenclature. An example is that systematic name the term used for chemical elements recently discovered seems to be unique to chemistry.

Unlike those, provisional designations aren't temporary. It is literally the provision made for designating unique observations. Please do not change the title without putting it to a vote, as I see no justification for expanding the title that has been unique since 1925. --Sturmde 13:08, 2 August 2005 (UTC)

Not true, Sturmde: the provisional designation of asteroids is temporary, being superceded by a sequential number and name once an orbit is well established. So, 2003 VB12 became 90377 Sedna, and the former name is no longer used. Worldtraveller 23:25, 16 September 2005 (UTC)

CONTINUED OBJECT and Point of Fact. Worldtraveller: There are only approximately 13,000 numbered asteroids with "trivial" names. The other 87,000 or so numbered asteroids retain their provisional designations. And the majority of them will never receive different names. Hence, there is a provision to designate these. It's not temporary, because most aren't given trivial names. Also, even though Brown has gotten Sedna somewhat surreptitiously approved, even though it was done improperly, the original observations still are referenced at the MPC under K03V12B... --Sturmde 27 September 2005

Worldtraveller: the consensus at this talk page was unclear: the page should remain at Provisional designation until we settle the discussion. -- hike395 22:03, 16 September 2005 (UTC)
I decided to move because no-one responded to my argument that we should follow the guideline to be precise where necessary. I am trying to follow the principle of least astonishment - I was surprised to find an article relating only to comets and asteroids when I first followed the link to provisional designation, having expected to find a page about general scientific provisional nomenclature. A link to 'provisional designation of asteroids' is immediately more comprehensible and I can't think of any good reason to keep an article at an ambiguous title. Worldtraveller 23:25, 16 September 2005 (UTC)
What are these uses? I can't find any specific technical terms. Are you think of a generic designation that is provisional? Wouldn't that just be a dictionary definition, rather than a full Wikipedia article?
At the very least, I think that this article should be provisional designation (astronomy), and we can talk about any provisional astronomical designations here. Although, I still don't understand what we are disambiguating against. -- hike395 20:59, 18 September 2005 (UTC)

"Minplan" template[edit]

Just a heads-up to editors... you may find Template:Minplan to be of use when writing in provisional designations into Wikipedia -The Tom 21:04, 30 July 2005 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

Original page was Provisional designation, which was proposed to move to Provisional designation of asteroids. No consensus was reached on Talk page. After 6 weeks, proposer moved page anyway. I object, because I believe that asteroids are the predominant meaning for "provisional designation". Other meanings should be referred to in Provisional designation (disambiguation). No other meanings are described in Wikipedia. Please undo page move, we can continue to discuss. -- hike395 22:11, 16 September 2005 (UTC)

Add *Support or *Oppose followed by an optional one sentence explanation, then sign your vote with ~~~~
  • Oppose since current title is clear and gives scope of article, old one isn't clear: other objects get provisional designations, including moons of major planets, comets, and many other things. Jonathunder 00:58, 17 September 2005 (UTC)
  • Oppose - just to note my opinion here as well as above - I agree with Jonathunder, and can't see any reason to move the page to a more ambiguous title. Worldtraveller 12:22, 19 September 2005 (UTC)
  • Oppose A 50-50 google split does not establish a primary usage; and the proposed name is inherently ambiguous. The present name is preferable to Provisional designation (astronomy), since it will occur in running text. Septentrionalis 16:57, 20 September 2005 (UTC)
  • Support (see discussion above and below) -- hike395 03:42, 21 September 2005 (UTC)
  • Oppose both. Also used for satellites and comets at the least. Rmhermen 01:35, 23 September 2005 (UTC)

Please return this to original location. (I think it's very unclear what people are saying here with Oppose, particularly Rmhermen's) Provisional designation (astronomy) would at least have some rationality. Right now, due to Worldtraveller's "over-everyone's-objection" move; there now is a section on provisional designation of asteroidal satellites in an article titled provisional designation of asteroids -- they're not asteroids any more than the Moon or Io are planets. --Sturmde 27 September 2005


The unilateral move was probably a Bad Thing; WP:RM exists to settle controversial moves, and should have been invoked instead. Bad Worldtraveller! Now that that is over with, the question at hand is "what should this page be called?". Septentrionalis 16:57, 20 September 2005 (UTC)

I just did a quick scan of the usage of "provisional designation" in en (with Google), and found no running text usages of "provisional designation of asteroids", only the bare phrase "provisional designation". I think that Provisional designation (astronomy) would be just as (in)convenient as Provisional designation of asteroids. And, by the way, all usages in en were for asteroids.
I personally dislike very specific page titles, because they lead to articles that are too narrow (IMO). If we broaden this to Provisional designation (astronomy), I will add other provisional designation information for satellites and comets. -- hike395 03:42, 21 September 2005 (UTC)
A quick google of "provisional designation" + "moon" shows a number of pages using it for satellites not asteroids. For instance, "Confirmed planetary satellites are permanently numbered by Roman numeral. New discoveries are assigned provisional designations including "S/" for satellite". Rmhermen 01:35, 23 September 2005 (UTC)
Rmhermen: what do you think of Provisional designation (astronomy) ? -- hike395 03:23, 23 September 2005 (UTC)
That sounds good if you will add other provisional designation information for satellites and comets. Rmhermen 14:43, 23 September 2005 (UTC)
I will add the information, at least a short section's worth. Does anyone else object to Provisional designation (astronomy), or prefer something else? -- hike395 05:43, 24 September 2005 (UTC)
I would prefer Provisional designation in astronomy so that it could work in running text. Jonathunder 05:47, 24 September 2005 (UTC)

Here's a radical idea: How about someone else show any google hits for something of the form Provisional designation (field other than astronomy)? Because, frankly, "Provisional Designation" has no formal use anywhere I see, BUT in Astronomy. Asteroids started in 1925 using that two-word description for the identification system devised. Satellites "back-doored" into using a compatible format, and comets only started using something compatible in 1995. The Minor Planet Center of the IAU has since 1925, and continued to use the formal title Provisional Designation. How about putting the article there where it used to reside? And when some other field or endeavour creates Provisional designation (aardvarks) or Provisional designation (zymurgical brews)... then move the article to Provisional designation (Astronomy). --Sturmde 02:07, 26 September 2005 (UTC)

We seem to be deadlocked. Sturmde is in favor of Provisional designation, Rmhermen and I like Provisional designation (astronomy), Jonathunder likes Provisional designation in astronomy, and Worldtraveller presumably likes Provisional designation of asteroids. No consensus, but it doesn't seem right to leave this as-is, because this article was named Provisional designation for years and no one complained. What shall we do? -- hike395 07:08, 5 October 2005 (UTC)
I think the voting above showed that people were not in favour of the article being at Provisional Designation. I see absolutely no reason not to have the article title indicate what is being provisionally designated. Who, on reading the words 'provisional designation', would immediately know that that implicitly means provisional designations in astronomy? I think no-one, so that title is unnecessarily obscure, and two words make it absolutely crystal clear. I would support Jonathunder's suggestion for the name. I don't see the point in using a disambiguation style page name when there's nothing being disambiguated. Worldtraveller 09:31, 6 October 2005 (UTC)


The usual solution at this point is approval polling. Please note which of the following names for this article you can tolerate, and the one that the most people can put up with is where the article goes (until next time). Feel free to add or strike out approvals to reach consensus, also to add new possibilities. Comments of more than a sentence and arguments against should go in #Further discussion Septentrionalis 18:10, 6 October 2005 (UTC)

Provisional designation[edit]

  1. hike395 02:05, 7 October 2005 (UTC)
  2. Urhixidur 02:35, 7 October 2005 (UTC) Seems the dominant meaning of the term. One could include a disambig header if required, as is done with other similar articles. "Provisional designation" is also easier to link to within the flow of a text.

Provisional designation (astronomy)[edit]

  1. Last choice. Septentrionalis 18:10, 6 October 2005 (UTC)
  2. hike395 02:05, 7 October 2005 (UTC)
  3. Rmhermen 01:41, 9 October 2005 (UTC) What Jonathunder said below.

Provisional designation in astronomy[edit]

  1. Septentrionalis 18:10, 6 October 2005 (UTC)
  2. Worldtraveller 22:01, 6 October 2005 (UTC)
  3. If provisional designation of different kinds of celestial objects, such as moons, comets, planets, trans-Neptunian objects, and beyond are covered in the same article. Jonathunder 01:13, 7 October 2005 (UTC)
  4. Rmhermen 01:41, 9 October 2005 (UTC) What Jonathunder said.
  5. sturmde 20 October 2005 (UTC) Of all the options, I agree belatedly that this is the best choice. Running text that might have read "provisional designation of asteroids" is longer but just as rational as "provisional designation in astronomy of asteroids". Thank you Jonathunder for finding a consensus candidate.

Provisional designation of asteroids[edit]

  1. Septentrionalis 18:10, 6 October 2005 (UTC)
  2. Worldtraveller 22:01, 6 October 2005 (UTC)
  3. Only if there is enough material for provisional designation of asteroids to have an article separate from that of other celestial objects. Jonathunder 01:09, 7 October 2005 (UTC)

Further discussion[edit]

I'll add more material about non-asteroidal provisional designations, if we rename it to be more general. -- hike395 16:35, 9 October 2005 (UTC)

I don't have time right now to do a great job in describing provisional designation of comets and satellites. I'll get to it in the next couple of weeks --- if someone else wants to take a crack at it first, please feel free. -- hike395 04:23, 15 October 2005 (UTC)


It was requested that this article be renamed but there was no consensus for it to be moved. Ryan Norton T | @ | C 01:15, 15 October 2005 (UTC)

A small majority seems to be in favor of Provisional designation in astronomy. I'll attempt the move now. -- hike395 04:14, 15 October 2005 (UTC)

Asteroids- Clarification for 1893[edit]

I have some confusion for the designations for 1893. Everyone agrees that the system started in 1892, and the last 1892 designation was 1892 V ('vee', not '5'). The problem is what was the first one in 1893? The implication here is that the system was started over again at 1893 A, then ran to 1893 Z, and then the double-lettering (AA, AB, etc) started. But Willy Ley, in Watchers of the Skies says that they just continued the lettering, and the first one was 1893 W. The information at the Minor Planet Data Center website is not clear, and may even indicate that they finished the 1892 alphabet, then started over again with 1893 A, then ran through again to 1893 AA. That probably is not the case, since W-Z would be repeated that way, but their wording can be interpeted that way. The one piece of information that I do have is that 1893 Z turned out to be a rediscovery of 175 Andromache (again, from Ley). Does anyone know for sure? CFLeon 22:16, 11 March 2006 (UTC)

2005 UW512[edit]

2005 UW512 is said here to be the 12,875th minor planet discovered in its half-month, but 512*25+22 = 12,822. Shouldn't the last one be 2005 UY514? NSHSedit (talk) 22:16, 18 May 2010 (UTC)

Also: latest count (from the citation) is 13268. I assume that 12823-12875 weren't confirmed discoveries; can we put 2005 US530 as the last provisional designation? —Preceding unsigned comment added by NSHSedit (talkcontribs) 22:22, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
Got it! K05Ur0P is the last listed in [1]. That works out to 2005 UP530, which is just about right! NSHSedit (talk) 22:46, 18 May 2010 (UTC)