Name conflicts with minor planets

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Despite efforts for every named body in the Solar System to have a distinct name, due to a variety of circumstances, there are several real or apparent name conflicts between different Solar System bodies. Most of these conflicts are between asteroids and natural satellites of planets, which are named according to different but partially overlapping schemes. Most satellites are named after people and divinities in Greek and Roman mythology; this is rarely true of asteroids currently, with the exception of centaurs and Jupiter trojans, but formerly many asteroids had mythological names, which consequently came into conflict with the names of natural satellites.

Bodies with identical names and referents[edit]

Some of these bodies have exactly the same name, referring to the same mythological character. The earliest such conflicts possibly arose through not considering certain mythological names as "official"; for instance, the names Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto for the Galilean satellites of Jupiter were not used in astronomical literature of a certain era, their place being taken by Jupiter I, Jupiter II, Jupiter III, Jupiter IV (cf. Naming of moons).

Moon named first[edit]

In the earliest of these conflicts, the natural satellite was named first, and the conflict arose with the naming of an asteroid. These conflicts span the period 1858-1906.

Asteroid named first[edit]

Later conflicts arose in relatively recent times from giving newly discovered satellites the same names as those of asteroids. By this time, it was possibly felt that the true name of an asteroid such as "38 Leda" included its minor planet number, and so re-using the name for a satellite did not really create a conflict. These conflicts span the period 1975-2001, though some conflicts of this type had arisen earlier with some names used unofficially.

Bodies with identical names and different referents[edit]

Some bodies have names of identical form, but were actually named for different persons or things.

  • 218 Bianca discovered 1880, was named after opera singer Bianca Bianchi and Bianca, a moon of Uranus, discovered 1986, was named after a Shakespeare character.
  • 1162 Larissa, discovered 1930, was named for the Thessalian town Larissa and Larissa, a moon of Neptune, discovered 1989, was named after the nymph Larissa.

Bodies with similar names and the same referent[edit]

Some objects have names that refer to the same mythological character, but slight variations in spelling prevent there from being a technical conflict.

Moon named first[edit]

  • Callisto, a moon of Jupiter, named 1614 and 204 Kallisto, discovered 1879, both variant transliterations of the name of the nymph Callisto.
  • Ganymede, a moon of Jupiter, named 1614 and 1036 Ganymed, discovered 1924, both named for Zeus' cupbearer. The name in Latin is Ganymedes, of which Ganymede is an English form and Ganymed a German one. The names are therefore in full conflict in German.

Asteroid named first[edit]

  • 53 Kalypso, discovered 1858 and Calypso, a moon of Saturn, named 1983, both named for the Atlantid nymph Calypso.
  • 548 Kressida, discovered 1904 and Cressida, a moon of Uranus, discovered 1986, both named after Cressida, a heroine in English-language versions of the Troy legend.
  • 101 Helena, discovered 1868 and Helene, a moon of Saturn, named 1988, both named after Helen of Troy.
  • 899 Jokaste, discovered 1918 and Iocaste, a moon of Jupiter, named 2002, both named for Queen Jocasta of Thebes.
  • 763 Cupido, discovered 1913 and Cupid, a moon of Uranus, discovered 2003, after the Roman god Cupid. Cupido is the Latin form, Cupid a modification of the same used in English. The name of the moon Cupid specifically refers to Cupid appearing as a character in the play Timon of Athens.
  • 3908 Nyx, discovered 1980 and Nix, a moon of Pluto, named 2006, both named for Nyx, goddess of night.
  • 1865 Cerberus, discovered 1971 and Kerberos, a moon of Pluto, named 2013, both named for Cerberus, canine guardian of the underworld.

Both asteroids[edit]

Bodies with similar names and different referents[edit]

Bodies with different names and the same referent[edit]

Several bodies have completely distinct names, but may be confused because their names refer to the same thing or the same mythological character. This is usually true when one name is Latin and another Greek, and causes especial confusion in Greek, where the Greek forms of all mythological names are used in preference to the Latin names.

Conflicts with planets[edit]

Some of the conflicts, surprisingly enough, are with planets and satellites with long-established names.

Conflicts among asteroids[edit]

Other conflicts occurred between asteroids discovered earlier and those discovered later.

  • 4 Vesta, discovered 1807 and 46 Hestia, discovered 1857. Hestia was also an unofficial name for Jupiter's moon Himalia 1955-1975. Named for the goddess Hestia.
  • 5 Astraea, discovered 1845, 24 Themis, discovered 1853, 99 Dike, discovered 1868, and 269 Justitia, discovered 1887. Named for goddesses of Justice.
  • 2 Pallas, named 1802, 93 Minerva, discovered 1867, and 881 Athene, discovered 1917. It might be argued that "Pallas" here does not actually refer to the goddess Athene, but rather her mythological companion Pallas; however, in the 19th century "Pallas" was commonly used as shorthand for "Pallas Athene", and in the company of Ceres, Juno, and Vesta, it seems more likely that Athene was intended.
  • 3 Juno, discovered 1804 and 103 Hera, discovered 1868. Hera was also an unofficial name for Jupiter's moon Elara 1955-1975. Named for the goddess Hera.
  • 78 Diana, discovered 1863 and 105 Artemis, discovered 1868 and 395 Delia and 15992 Cynthia. These names all refer to the goddess Artemis, the last two being epithets derived from placenames associated with the goddess.
  • 94 Aurora, discovered 1867 and 221 Eos discovered 1882. Named for the goddess of the dawn.
  • 19 Fortuna, discovered 1852 and 258 Tyche, discovered 1886. Named for the goddess of luck.
  • 12 Victoria, discovered 1850 and 307 Nike, discovered 1891. Named for the goddess of victory. Cf. Nike and Victoria.
  • 106 Dione, discovered 1868 and 405 Thia, discovered 1895. The equivalence between Dione and Thia is less certain. Theia is however often used for an object supposed to have collided with the early Earth, producing the Moon as a result.
  • 8 Flora, discovered 1847 and 410 Chloris, discovered 1896. Named for the goddess of flowers. Cf. Flora and Chloris.
  • 424 Gratia discovered 1896 and 627 Charis discovered 1907. Named for any one of the Graces.
  • 14 Irene, discovered 1851 and 679 Pax, discovered 1909. Named for the goddess of peace.
  • 433 Eros, discovered 1898 and 763 Cupido, discovered 1913 and 1221 Amor discovered 1932, the first being the Greek, and the second and third Latin renditions of the name of Eros, the god of love.
  • 1 Ceres, discovered 1801 and 1108 Demeter, discovered 1929. Demeter was also an unofficial name for Jupiter's moon Lysithea 1955-1975. Named for the goddess Demeter.
  • 2063 Bacchus, discovered 1977 and 3671 Dionysus, discovered 1984, named for the god of wine.

See also[edit]