The Signs as Creatures from Greek Mythology
  • <p> <b>Aries:</b> Sphinx - The Sphinx was an aggressive creature who often attacked people who passed by.<p/><b></b> The Shpinx had the haunches of a lion, the wings of a great bird, and the face of a woman.<p/><b>Taurus:</b> Minotaur - A creature with the head of a bull on the body of a man. The Minotaur was a fierce, yet enchanting being.<p/><b>Gemini:</b> Nymph - A nymph was unpredictable, a little scary, often charming, and frequently showed up in various stories.<p/><b>Cancer:</b> Echidna - Half-snake, half-woman. Echidna is the mother of the some of the most fearsome Greek monsters.  <p/><b>Leo:</b> Arachne - A half-spider half-female. She is the mother of all spiders. She was made into that by the goddess Athena, after losing to a weaving contest after she boastfully said she was the best.<p/><b>Virgo:</b> Pegasus - The white, pure, winged horse is a minor character serving as a loyal steed and companion. Kind, helpful, and never greedy.<p/><b>Libra:</b> Empousai - A seductive female vampire demon with fiery hair and legs of bronze that are especially good at ensnaring men with their beauty before devouring them.<p/><b>Scorpio:</b> Chimera - A monster that was feared and believed to have been an omen for storms, shipwrecks and other natural disasters.<p/><b>Sagittarius:</b> Laelaps - A Greek mythological dog who always caught what he was hunting. <p/><b>Capricorn:</b> Caucasian Eagle - A giant eagle set by Zeus to feed on the forver regenerating liver of Prometheus. {The eagle was a son of Echidna.}<p/><b>Aquarius:</b> Chiron - He was an old and wise centaur. He was intelligent, civilized and kind. He was known for his knowledge and skill with medicine. Chiron was an ancient trainer of heroes.<p/><b>Pisces:</b> Asbolus - A centaur. He was a seer, or an auger. He was a diviner who read omens in the flight of birds.<p/></p>

Eris, the largest of the dwarf planets and its moon Dysnomia.

Some Cool Facts About Dwarf Planets and Centaurs!

There’s a lot of talk about Pluto at the moment on tumblr. A recent debate on whether or not it should be classified as a planet was held and afterwards the audience voted in agreement with the view that it should be. This, however, was just an opinion poll and has no effect on Pluto’s official classification. Here are some facts about dwarf planets which will, hopefully, help you to understand why the IAU won’t be reclassifying Pluto as a planet any time soon.

Pluto is not the only dwarf planet! There are something like two hundred possible dwarf planets in our solar system and Pluto isn’t even the biggest one. That’s Eris, pictured above with its moon Dysnomia. Eris is larger that Pluto and therefore if Pluto is to be considered a planet then Eris should logically also be a planet. However, I’ve yet to see a single tumblr post complaining about Eris’ classification as a dwarf planet. Like Eris, many confirmed and possible dwarf planets have their own moons. Pluto has five moons, the largest of which is named Charon. Here’s a picture of Pluto alongside Charon:

Pluto’s other four moons are much smaller and are named Nix, Hydra, Kerberos, and Styx. Pluto also has what is called a quasi-satellite, (15810) 1994 JR1. It has been a quasi-satellite of Pluto for roughly 100,000 years and is likely to remain so for another 250,000 years.

The vast majority of confirmed and possible dwarf planets don’t have official names yet.

This is 2007 OR10

It’s the largest object in the Solar System that doesn’t have an official name yet, but its nickname is “Snow White.”

2007 OR10 is the fourth biggest dwarf planet in the Solar System, being 136km smaller in diameter than the third largest dwarf planet, Makemake. Makemake is notable for having no moons.

Next up is Haumea, which is unique amongst the dwarf planets for having an unusual ellipsoid shape, as seen in this artist’s conception:

Also pictured are Haumea’s two moons, Hiʻiaka and Namaka.

Next come Quaoar, named after the Tongva creator god, and its moon Weyot. Sedna, which takes roughly 11,400 years to orbit the Sun and will be at its closest to the Sun in 2075. And Orcus, which unlike Sedna is accompanied on its journey around the Sun by its moon, Vanth.

Next up is Ceres, which is significant for a number of reasons. Firstly, unlike the rest of the dwarf planets Ceres is not a trans-neptunian object but instead is located between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. This means that rather than being a distant object orbiting in the vast coldness at the edge of the Solar System, Ceres instead exists on the fringes of the Sun’s habitable zone. This is made doubly significant because although not as actively discussed as a potential home for extraterrestrial life as Mars or Europa, the presence of water ice has led to speculation that life may exist there, and that hypothesized ejecta could have come from Ceres to Earth.

Of the many other dwarf planets, the ones that currently have official names include Salacia with its moon Actaea, Varuna, Varda and its moon Ilmarë (Tolkien fans should recognise those names), Ixion, Chaos and finally Huya with its as yet unnamed moon.

However, that’s only the start of the interesting story of planetary objects in our Solar Sytem. As well as dwarf planets our Solar System is also home to a number of minor planets known as centaurs. Centaurs are small Solar System bodies with a semi-major axis between those of the outer planets. They have unstable orbits that cross or have crossed the orbits of one or more of the giant planets, and have dynamic lifetimes of a few million years. The centaurs all orbit the Sun in various positions between Jupiter and Neptune.

Known centaurs include Amycus, Bienor, Hylonome, Chariklo, Asbolus, Nessus, Pholus, Chiron and Hidalgo.

So, please, before you write yet another post about why Pluto should be a planet, consider instead the wonders of the many planetary objects within our solar system and Pluto’s place within them. Yes, Pluto is really cool, but so are Eris and Sedna and Ceres and all these other dwarf planets and centaurs and their many moons!