Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Cancer Constellation Renamed

The Hubble Space Telescope is due to be replaced in 2014 because it is considered to be old and useless, but it has recently taken an image which led to the discovery of a new star in what used to be the constellation of Cancer.

Cancer, the constellation
I don't see it. Does this look like a crab?
The star is yet to be given a common name but it is scientifically known as B-637/j. It was previously obscured by the bright star cluster, but has since been identified thanks to a special filter. B-637/j is located directly below Asellus Borealis and is thought to be similar in magnitude to its stellar neighbor.

The New Star B-637/j. How could you miss it?
Scientists decided to rename the constellation of Cancer since it never really bore any resemblance to a crab, and chose the new name to reflect modern culture and what the alignment of stars looked like. When you view the constellation diagram upside down and with the overlay you can see why it was named Camelodigitus, a Latin term which translates roughly to 'the toe of the camel'.

Camelodigitus superimposed on a camel toe
A superimposed image of Camelodigitus fits almost perfectly
I would not be surprised to see an increased interest in astronomy thanks to this news. Incidentally the new star has still not been named. What do you think it should be called?

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