Wednesday, July 17, 2013


AN astronomer studying archived images of Neptune taken by the Hubble Space Telescope has found a 14th moon orbiting the planet ... and it needs a name.

How about naming it Nerites ... in honor of Neptune's same-sex lover?

It is a little-known fact that Antinous was associated with Neptune (or Poseidon as he was known to the Greeks) in a gay context.

Coins minted by a priest of Antinous at Corinth named Hostilius Marcellus (from whom our own Uendi Hostilia Marcella takes her priestly name) show Antinous as Neptune/Poseidon.

It is a reference to the myth that Neptune became enthralled with another sea god
, Nerites, who was said to be the handsomest of all males on Earth, in the Heavens or in the Seas.

The sexual union of Poseidon and Nerites produced Anteros, god of requited love.

In those days, few people could read or write.

But everyone knew these myths. So anyone who held one of these Antinous/Poseidon coins could "read" the gay symbolism ....

Astronomer Mark Showalter, with the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California, says he needs a name for the moon he discovered. Estimated to be about 12 miles in diameter, the moon is located about 65,400 miles from Neptune.

Showalter and colleagues are asking for suggestions for a name to propose to the International Astronomical Union, which has final say in the matter.

"We haven't really gotten far with that. What I can say is that the name will be out of Roman and Greek mythology and it will have to do with characters who are related to Neptune, the god of the oceans," Showalter says.

Neptune's largest moon, Triton, was discovered in 1846, just days after the planet itself was found. Nereid, Neptune's third largest moon was found in 1949.

Images taken by NASA's Voyager 2 spacecraft unveiled the second largest moon, Proteus, and five smaller moons, Naiad, Thalassa, Despina, Galatea and Larissa.

Ground-based telescopes found Halimede, Laomedeia, Sao and Nestor in 2002. Sister moon Psamathe turned up a year later.

The newly found moon, designated S/2004 N 1, is located between Larissa and Proteus. It orbits Neptune in 23 hours.

We feel it should be named Nerites ... to honor the same-sex love that Neptune and Nerites shared ... a love which produced Anteros, the god of Requited Love.

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