Thursday, 22 November 2012

Baruk Khazad! Khazad ai-menu!

Titan's features
On November 13 the International Astronomical Union (IAU) approved the name Mount Doom for a peak on Saturn’s moon Titan.  According to the Tolkien's Lord of the Rings series, this mountain lies at the heart of Mordor and is the only site where the One Ring can be unmade. Titan is like a geek heaven, with place names coming from both J. R. R. Tolkien’s mythos and Frank Herbert’s Dune series.
All mountains on Titan are named for fictional peaks in Tolkien’s books. In addition to Mount Doom, there is Mount Erebor, the Lonely Mountain, where Bilbo and company travel to fight the dragon Smaug in The Hobbit and also the Misty Mountains which house the Dwarven city of Khazad-dum and the mines of Moria, where the dwarves dug too deep, unleashing the Balrog that kills Gandalf (well, almost killed him).

The plains of Titan are named from planets in Frank Herbert’s Dune series such as Arrakis Planitia, named for the planet where Paul Atreides becomes Muad’Dib and learns to ride the mighty sandworms. The Chusuk plain and Sikun labyrinth are also named for planets in the Dune series.
There are many other features in the Solar system that do not follow the habitual mithology nomenclature. You can see the current list of categories in the IAU's web site.
Note. As many of you will know, the post title is the Khuzdul battle cry of the Dwarves and its translation is Axes of the Dwarves! The Dwarves are upon you!

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  1. I suppose it makes more sense than if they were all Jane Austen fans! ;-)

  2. Good to see thta you're another fan of Tolkien!!

  3. Maybe we will see a new trilogy - Hobbits in space?

  4. Interesting - thanks Rafa. I wonder, do these topographical features on Titan know we have named them? Do they care? Does it matter to anyone beyond a few dweebs with telescopes on Earth?

    I agree it would be very difficult to discuss craters on the moons of Saturn at cheese-&-wine parties if they didn't have names, so I suppose it's useful to a degree.

    Is it a human characteristic (weakness?) that we have to name things which are none of our business? What if someone else, somewhere else, has already named them? Is he now wrong?


    Cheers - MSF

  5. Everybody has a secret life!