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8/23/2006

Astronomer Getting "Pretty Tired" of Uranus Jokes

Left: More than just a cheap laugh

(Prague, Czech Republic) As the world's astronomers debated a plan to use a celestial object's roundness as the criteria for defining a "planet," astronomer Lars Christensen paused to address an additional thorny issue.

"Everyone in this room has had to deal with being the brunt of a Uranus joke at some point, and I move to rename this unfortunate planet," he told members of a International Astronomical Union (IAU) conference. "The worst one of these invovles Star Trek's Captain Kirk and 'Klingons on Uranus.' I say: Enough!"

Christensen recounted another wisecrack that "repeats every year" in undergraduate classrooms.

"And how can we forget this one: 'Due to the poisonous gases that exist there, humans cannot survive anywhere near Uranus," he said, shaking his fist at the crowd. "Or the related: 'Apparently Uranus is a gas giant.' Colleagues, it's time we put an end to these sophomoric attempts at humor."

Astronomer Lars ChristensenLeft: Christensen says "enough with the jokes, already"

Christensen said that the "tipping point" for him came during a recent trip to his physician.

"I needed to have my prostate checked, and the doctor - who knew I was an astronomer - actually said: 'Beginning launch sequence for Uranus probe,'" he said. "Can you believe that? From a doctor? I swore that if he made a crack about 'moons around Uranus,' I was going to beat him like a rented mule. Lucky for him he shut up."

Comments:
Great picture!

Has anyone ever told how really great looking Uranus really is?
 
Har har! Ever told *whom* though?

But seriously, folks: All we English speakers really need to do is pronounce the name more as it would have been anciently said (& presumably still is in other languages). The problem is mostly with a dipthongal *U*--plus a long A. Accent the second syllable, & Uranus sounds like "urinous"--not necessarily that much of an improvement. Maybe a sleight spelling change would help; if it was "Ouranus," maybe even "Ouranos," it would remind people to pronounce it "Oo-RAH-noos." Regardless, that's how I'd pronounce it in public; it's at least consistent with Latin & close enough to the Greek.
 
what color are the rings around Uranus? Does Uranus have a smell? Please try not to be so up tight about Uranus? There just jokes. You seem facinated with Uranus. What the nest way to view Uranus?
 
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