Does this mean nothing?

Just before I go off to bed, I thought I would check up on the blog and noticed a comment about the naming of stars. A guy named Jake had been given one as a present and was having difficulty finding it in the sky.

I presume he was looking up about his star on the internet and had stumbled across my blog entry in which I complain bitterly about star naming companies. I do get very annoyed by the star naming companies and I'm sure they annoy many astronomers around the world. These companies claim to have "official catalogues" but these are as official as me keeping my own list in the garden shed. They generally name stars that are very difficult to see by eye and quite often don't seem to exist. That makes the whole experience of trying to see the named star very disappointing. I know of many cases where such names were bought in good faith, as a meaningful gesture or in the memory of a loved one, and it is terrible when people find out that it isn't what they thought it was. As someone who has to deal with that side of things - as an astronomy person I get asked to point out where these stars are - I find the whole star naming business to be underhand and actually pretty scandalous. I also have the job of breaking the bad news to people and that just makes me look mean. I don't want to be mean.

Having read my post, Jake quite understandably asked "does this mean nothing then?" In Christmas spirit I'll say that it does mean something. Although it doesn't mean that his star name will be used or recognised by astronomers, it probably does means that he has a friend or relative who cares about him very much. The sentiment was there and that is what really matters on a day like today. Merry Christmas and happy New Year to all the readers of Astronomy Blog.

Posted in astro blog by Stuart on Tuesday 26th Dec 2006 (00:35 GMT) | Permalink
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