Tajikistan creates planet, names it after self


A central asian nation may have no easy path to the sea, but its future among the stars is assured—at least in its dreams.

Tajikistan's state new agency reports [translate] that the country has named "one of the small planets of the solar system" for itself, but did not specify exactly which one, or how it will come to be "between Mars and Jupiter" and have an orbital revolution equivalent to the 5-year term of the national parliamentary assembly.

According to the press release, the name was affirmed by the International Astrophysicists Union.

x 2015-09-02 at 10.51.40 AM
It was emphasized that the planet Tajikistan is located between the planets Mars and Jupiter, its distance from the Earth is 250 million kilometers, and from the Sun is 463 million kilometers. Tajikistan planet revolves around the sun once every five years.

Now the planet Tajikistan is at a very close distance to Earth and Tajik scholars engaged in the study of its physical and chemical properties, as well as the processes taking place on this planet.

President Emomali Rahmon expressed appreciation for the contribution of the Tajik scientists in the world of astrophysics, and expressed confidence that such valuable achievements require from our scientists and researchers more effort in the interests of the state and the nation, as well as all mankind.

Eurasianet suspects that "there are some unexplained aspects to the story."

For instance, the International Astrophysicists Union, if it indeed exists, appears to have no online presence. And were it a real organization, it would be rather odd for it to be getting into the business of naming planets, since that might be considered more strictly the domain of astronomers. As it happens, there is something called the International Astronomical Union, but its website is unrevealing about any recent planetary discoveries related to Tajikistan.

This all leads to the inexorable suspicion that this planet news may have been invented as a feeble attempt to boost Tajikistan's reputation within its own borders (and on the planet of Tajikistan perhaps). Which is sad since the country can boast of a proud and ancient history in the science of astronomy. But as this 2009 paper by two specialists from the Institute of Astrophysics at Tajikistan's Academy of Sciences explains, the post-Soviet era was cruel to the country's modern scientific achievements.