Last week, Ukrainian activists and astronomers joined forces to adopt a star and name it "Putin-Huilo!", a Ukrainian phrase which translates roughly to "Putin is a dickhead." The star was adopted through Pale Blue Dot, an organization which allows people to symbolically name a star and uses the adoption proceeds to fund intergalactic research.
As the star was named something rather inappropriate, there was speculation that name might be changed or censored. The founder of the Pale Blue Dot Project, Travis Metcalfe, put this speculation to rest. Metcalfe told The Moscow Times, "Free speech is now written in the stars. We have no plans to censor any of these star adoptions. We appreciate the support for science."
Metcalfe also noted that this is not the first time people have taken intergalactic jabs at one another through star names, but did not specify any exact instances.
Pale Blue Dot noticed the star was named a while ago, however, they did not know what the name meant, and thought nothing of it until EuroMaidan posted the star adoption certificate to their Facebook page. "It says Putin is a dickhead, but in Ukrainian — so we didn't recognize what it actually said. I wasn't familiar with the term huilo," Metcalfe explained.
So, from now until the universe explodes, Putin-is-a-dickhead will twinkle in the sky.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.