Oklahoma astronomers see themselves in a faraway nebula

Feb 10, 2017

The Rosette Nebula
Credit Dick Locke

A group of stargazers in the Sooner State are hoping to pass a law that would grant Oklahoma  an official state astronomical object.

As the Enid News reports, amateur astronomers would like to officially name the Rosette Nebula as Oklahoma’s very own astronomical object. Their reasons? Oklahoma has long held pride over rose-colored objects. The state flower is the Oklahoma rose. And the state rock is the rose rock. So, the astronomers believe, the Rosette Nebula, with its warm rosy glow fits right in.

In an era of tense political divisions, this is one measure that’s expected to pass the state legislature without much debate. However, there is a history of controversy over the naming of objects in Oklahoma. A few years ago, a heated debate arose on the floor of the state congress about a lawmaker’s wish to re-designate the state vegetable, the watermelon, as the state vegetable. But the state already had a state fruit, the strawberry. So the measure failed, and the watermelon remains Oklahoma’s state vegetable.