Amateur Astronomy Notes

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november 12, 2011

Uranus is officially no longer funny, leading astronomers say

Uranus Uranus

A leading astronomer declared today that the name of Uranus, the seventh planet from the Sun and the butt of many poor-taste jokes, is officially no longer funny. Dr Froos Waxbiffel, head of the European branch of the SAU, or Smart Astrophysical Union, which is comrised of a bunch of astrophysicists who are very smart indeed, complained today about people continuing to make fun of the name of the seventh planet, a gas giant which was discovered by Sir William Herschel in 1781.

"If people keep making fun of the name, we might just throw it out of the solar system altogether," said Waxbiffel. "We did it once already. Don't think we won't do it again. We're fed up with people making stupid jokes about Uranus!"

Dr Waxbiffel said that changing the spelling to "Urinus" was another possibility. "This is a good way to eliminate these bathroom jokes once and for all!" he said, making a waving motion in the air with his hands. "The new spelling will make it clear that the planet has nothing whatsoever to do with any bodily function related to excretion." He added that Uranus's axis of rotation is almost parallel to its plane of revolution around the Sun, and its atmosphere is composed primarily of hydrogen and helium gas. "And you in the back, stop snickering. Gor blimey, you can't get away from this juvenile stuff."

Another possibility, hinted Waxbiffel, if people continue to make stupid bathroom jokes, is to refer to the planets solely by numbers. For example, Mercury could be referred to as Number One, and Venus could be referred to as Number Two.

Other astronomers refused to comment on the issue. Off the record, many said they were reluctant to comment because of last year's scandal caused by the realization that the name "Andromeda" is derived from the Greek word for "man," making the Andromeda Galaxy sexist. This caused widespread consternation and numerous calls to change its name to Persondromeda.