NASA has just released new maps of our favorite dwarf planet of the Solar System, besides Pluto, which is still under debate. And apparently, according to these maps, the Ceres formations got names. Yet these names had to be created after some very strict rules.
Previously, the names were extremely unimaginative and, of course, provisory. The ups and downs of the icy planet were called things like “Spot 1”, or “pyramid shaped mountain” but have now ended up with real names. Well, not really. These names may seem a little bit dull for some.
If you look at the list – Dantu, Kerwan, Haulani, Ezina – you may be left scratching your head. I know my Word is, as it’s insisting on underlining them as spelling errors. No, Word, I didn’t mean Dante, Kerman, Hauling, and Edina. I meant to spell four distinct gods from four moderately-obscure and unknown mythologies.
How so? Well, you may know that Ceres was named after the goddess Ceres, which was the roman deity representing agriculture. According to the International Astronomical Union, the institution that regulates the names given to celestial bodies, if a planet carries the name of a certain mythological figure, then for its formations, the names given must be somewhat linked to that figure.
And so it was for Ceres as well, as the IAU determined that Ceres’s formations carry the names of figures related to agriculture from any mythologies one could think of.
And so it goes that Occator came to be. No, Word, I didn’t mean Locator. Occator is the Roman god of harrowing, which, if you’re not in the field of agriculture (pun intended), you might not know that it is the process of leveling the soil to make it ready for the planting of whatever you want to plant. Yes, the Romans had a god for that too.
The map published by NASA, made up from Dawn spacecraft’s readings, shows spectacular landscapes, and has unveiled that Occator is the formation that contains the unusual bright spots that were reported on Ceres’s surface a while back. Scientists have speculated that these pots may be geysers, ice, or even simple puddles, yet the latest research has unveiled that they might represent gaseous formations rising up out of the ground, which in a dramatic turn of events, create an actual thin atmosphere around the area.
It seems that the Occator on Ceres is much more interesting than the original one, don’t you think? Here’s the image containing all the names of the formations on Ceres.
Image source: astronomy.com