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A bunch of stars just got renamed, including Alpha Centauri


Mitchz95
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I'll still call it Alpha Centauri.

Most things have multiple names. Let's leave it at that. Examples include countries and cities, as well as regions. Sometimes it's as simple as soft drinks having different names.

I say there's no official name until someone settles there. And even then, each language and culture will have its own variant.

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Yeah this is about as important as if Pluto is a planet or not, which means it will cause controversy for years among the laypeople (us) and nobody who actually works in the field will care, except to be happy that there is clarification now.

Call it what you want. It's not like black vans are going to pull up and take you away if you do so. Eventually though people will say "Alpha what? Oh you mean Rigil Kentaurus?"

Incidentally, I think Rigil Kentaurus is an awesome name.

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Pfft. Nothing got renamed. The designations remain the same for those who want to use them. And if they wanted to be REALLY useful, they would specify pronunciations for each of the classic star names (with audio) so I could know how the IAU claims they should sound.

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Hasn't Alpha Centauri been called Rigel since forever? And it's still the brightest in the constellation, so it should still be "the alpha".. vOv

edit - Oh, it's now Rigil instead of Rigel? 

Silly me, the Rigel I was thinking of is in Orion.

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will keep its name, which will make it easier to keep track of the nearest exoplanet to Earth

...as if the name had anything to do with how easy or hard it is to do science. This is exactly the sort of thing that led me to remove space.com from my feeds list.

Edited by monstah
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28 minutes ago, todofwar said:

Seems like the IAU is the space version of IUPAC, which chemists joke likes to change naming conventions every so often to justify its own existence. 

inB4 they rename it to "Alfa Sentauri"...

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"Rigel" is the name of Beta Orionis, in Orion, the right foot. Yet we say Rigel, not Beta Orionis. If they want to call Alpha Centauri "Rigil" from now on, then why not. The danger that somebody erroneously sets a course to Rigel instead of Rigil is low.

That Bayer designation is connected to the apparent magnitude of a star in a constellation, but it's arbitrary because brightnesses change. Orion is a good example.

I'm relaxed, i'm on the wrong hemisphere of the earth to watch Rigil anyway ...

 

Edited by Green Baron
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That has been well known since long, doesn't it ? IAU messes more with names, so we're ready for interstellar ? :D

 

Also, Rigel is actually brighter (by precise measurements with instruments) compared to Betelgeuse.

Hint : Rigel has more in Blue while Betelgeuse has more in Red, and our eye's more sensitive to red while cameras are more sensitive to blue...

Edited by YNM
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5 minutes ago, Green Baron said:

"Rigel" is the name of Beta Orionis, the second (Beta) brightest star in Orion, the right foot.

Yeah, I see I was wrong. It apparently has been called "Rigel" sometimes but the Rigel I was thinking of was actually Orion's.

2 minutes ago, YNM said:

Rigel has more in Blue while Betelgeuse has more in Red, and our eye's more sensitive to red while cameras are more sensitive to blue...

Interesting fact! Didn't know that.

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6 minutes ago, YNM said:

Also, Rigel is actually brighter (by precise measurements with instruments) compared to Betelgeuse.

 

Yes, that's why that nomenclature is arbitrary. Correcting my post asap.

btw. how is Rigil pronounced ? Arabian like most other stars or english ?

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"Rigil", just (close) as in vigil (?)

My pronouciation standard is going to differ a lot than most of you...  so somebody else should explain ?

EDIT :

20 minutes ago, Green Baron said:

I'm relaxed, i'm on the wrong hemisphere of the earth to watch Rigil anyway ...

We know both and we never get them wrong - such far apart they are ! Although, given my (short) experience... Some laymen would start asking I guess !

Btw. if you want to name a known star, help name HIP 87261 ! It's in the constellation lines but only now have Bayer designations !

Edited by YNM
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3 minutes ago, Green Baron said:

Oh, a German truck driver just delivered a snow groomer to Seefeld at the North Sea instead of Switzerland ... modern style navigation, brain in standby mode...

:sticktongue::sticktongue::sticktongue::rolleyes::D:0.0::wink:

Maybe we should reintroduce border crossing so they know which country are they going to !

3 minutes ago, Green Baron said:

Sorry, off topic.

sorry again, mods...

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Except Alpha Centauri has not been renamed, Alpha Centauri refers to the trinary star system comprised of Rigil Kentaurus (formerly Alpha Centauri A), Alpha Centauri B (still no official name) and Proxima Centauri (Never really known as Alpha Centauri C)

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It's unfair and sad that α Cen A has a name, but α Cen B doesn't.
Even puny Proxima has.

As "rigil" means "leg", they should call them Left and Right.
And as (according to pictures) they are front legs, they should be named: Front Left Rigil Kentaurus and Front Right Rigil Kentaurus.

Btw: why K- when this constellation is always written Cen(taurus)? Are they Kerbals?

Edited by kerbiloid
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Wheeee IAU, now they've gone and made it nice and confusing! Specifically, by taking the traditional names that referred to multiple star systems that appear as one star to the naked eye, and arbitrarily deciding those names are appropriate for a single star in that multiple system. The name Alpha Centauri always means at least the pair (OK, sometimes Proxima too), the name Alpha Centauri A always means the single star, but now the name Rigil Kentaurus could mean either depending on when the work was written! And there are several others with the same problem.

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10 hours ago, Rhomphaia said:

Except Alpha Centauri has not been renamed, Alpha Centauri refers to the trinary star system comprised of Rigil Kentaurus (formerly Alpha Centauri A), Alpha Centauri B (still no official name) and Proxima Centauri (Never really known as Alpha Centauri C)

8 hours ago, kerbiloid said:

It's unfair and sad that α Cen A has a name, but α Cen B doesn't.
Even puny Proxima has.

A lot of stars go that way. I mean, nobody is really bothering at the other half because it's very, very hard to look for them as two different stars. There's Sirius, but what about  α CMa B ? Or what about most double stars ? Proxima only got it's name thanks to it's far away angular separation.

Also, AFAIK, these names refer to the whole system where the stars can't be distinguished by naked eye. Which, sums up for close to all visual binaries (you need a telescope) and for most people. Exceptions : α Cen (AB and C), possibly ζ and 80 UMa, and this guy.

8 hours ago, kerbiloid said:

Btw: why K- when this constellation is always written Cen(taurus)? Are they Kerbals?

Kentaurus is, I guess, thanks to it's arabic transliteration ? I forgot.

Edited by YNM
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So a couple of people have mentioned that it's a similar name to the Rigel in Orion and it's no coincidence.  Rigel means "foot" and in Orion it refers to the star that represents his foot.  In Centaurus Rigil Kentaurus means "foot of the Centaur" so it's no surprise that the names are similar.  The spelling difference apparently boils down to transliteration from Arabic.  The star remains Alpha Centauri because it's the Alpha star in that constellation, it just now has an officially recognized common name (which was in use for a really long time anyhow).

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2 hours ago, YNM said:

There's Sirius, but what about  α CMa B

Afaik, they were always Sirius A and Sirius B. Or just Sirius as "a star visible from the Earth", i.e. both at once or the largest component.

1 hour ago, Chiron0224 said:

The spelling difference apparently boils down to transliteration from Arabic

I.e. they legalized at least one misspelling.

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