Uranus, always seems to be the butt of all jokes. But did you know it was nearly going to be called George? Believe it or not, if it were up to British astronomer William Herschel, the seventh planet from the Sun would have been known as George in honour of his boss, King George III.
Thankfully, Herschel’s proposal didn’t stick. Imagine the solar system lineup – Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, George, Neptune, and Pluto. Hmm…doesn’t quite have the same flow.
After astronomers pondered on ‘George’ as a name for 70 years, they decided it was ‘too English’ and probably a bit too bland. They finally settled on Uranus. It was definitely the right call to make! Sorry George, you’re out and ‘Ur-Anus’ is in. he he
Now, you might be wondering why Herschel’s suggestion was tossed aside and Uranus took centre stage. Johann Bode, a German astronomer, had brilliant idea. He suggested that the name should follow the tradition of naming planets after mythological deities. He thought it fitting to honour the ancient Greek god Ouranos, the personification of the sky, by giving the planet his name. Thus, Uranus was chosen, much to the relief of 12-year-olds and immature adults everywhere.
While we’ve been sniggering about the planet’s name since we were in school, apparently we’ve been pronouncing it wrong this whole time! While many of us opt for saying ‘Ur-Anus’, astronomers (who clearly lack a sense of humour) prefer to say ‘Uran-us’ – which apparently is the correct way. Boooring…
Johann Bode definitely deserves a round of applause for saving us from a planet called George and a planet that we’ll always laugh about!