An American astronomer wants to ask the International Astronomical Union, the body responsible for naming astronomical objects, to erase from the sky the name of Portuguese navigator Fernao de Magalhães, whom she considers a “colonist, slave trader and murderer.”
The brightest satellite galaxies of the Milky Way, which can be seen with the naked eye in the Southern Hemisphere, are named in honor of Magellan. The Small and Large Magellanic Clouds were used as an orientation point by many navigators and were mentioned in the memoirs of Antonio Pigafetta, the Italian historian who accompanied the first circumnavigation of the planet, for which Magellan became famous.
Now, a professor at Amherst University in Massachusetts, USA, says that the beauty of these starry objects is “overshadowed” by the name they received, which “honors a violent colonizer,” and calls on the scientific community to rename these galactic objects, in addition to other astronomical objects, institutions and facilities. Named after the 16th century explorer. Mia D Los Reyes told the site space.with A group of about fifty people have been exchanging emails on the subject, with the goal of requesting a name change.
How to describe Watchman This Sunday, Mia de los Reyes believes that the Portuguese do not deserve this “heavenly privilege” and to have “their name written in the stars.”
The question was asked in a published opinion piece In the magazine APS Physics“, in which Reyes writes that Magellan committed “horrible deeds” in the lands that are now Guam and the Philippines. He notes that “he and his men burned villages and killed their inhabitants,” also saying that “Magalhães was not an astronomer and was not the first to document these galaxies.” .
“Indigenous peoples throughout the Southern Hemisphere have names and legends for these systems that predate Magellan by thousands of years. Magellan’s crew was also not the first Western team to write about the two galaxies. Arab explorers are known to have described the galaxies at least, and the Italians described them a decade before Magellan began “His journey.”
to location space.withProfessor David Hogg, from New York University, says it is not just Magellan’s actions that should lead to the name change, but the fact that satellite galaxies have not been discovered by the explorer.
In 1519, Magellan led the Spanish expedition that completed the first European voyage to Asia across the Pacific, but he died in battle in 1521, in what is now the Philippines. “I and many other astronomers believe that astronomical objects and facilities should not be named after Magellan, or anyone else with a violent colonial legacy,” he wrote. Mia D Los Reyes.
According to the teacher, who cites Pigafetta’s first-hand account, “Magallán enslaved the indigenous Tehuelche people,” who lived in the region that is now Argentina. In the document, a moment is described in which the explorer placed iron handcuffs on the “younger and better” men and told them that the object was a gift.
Reyes explains that despite these measures, Magellan was and continues to be “widely honored in the field of astronomy” and that his name currently appears in more than 17,000 peer-reviewed academic articles, and has also been awarded for other astronomical objects. Examples include the lunar crater and Martian crater, the NASA spacecraft, the twin 6.5-meter telescopes, and the third giant telescope still under construction, all located in Chile.
“When we defend the names of people whose lives and legacies caused harm, such as Magellan, we isolate the communities who were harmed. The communities who suffered because of Magellan have rich astronomical traditions that are often less valuable than those in the West.” The teacher says.
NASA has also faced criticism for naming the planet Mosques Webb to the telescope that sent him into space in 2021, by several scientists who claim that Webb was linked to the Lavender Scare, a period of persecution of the LGBTQ+ community in the 1950s and 1960s in the United States. In 2022 NASA announced He did not intend to change the telescope’s name, stating that he had found no evidence linking Webb to the firing of any employees because of their sexual orientation.
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