SCIENCE
07/09/2014 08:51 am ET

Ukrainian Astronomers Name A Star 'Putin-Huilo,' Which Means 'Putin Is A D**khead'

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Ukrainian astronomers have taken their disdain for Russian President Vladimir Putin to the cosmos.

Together with pro-Ukraine activists, the astronomers named a star "Putin-Huilo" -- a Ukrainian insult that, loosely translated, means "Putin is a d**khead."

The star, whose official name is KIC 9696936, was given its new moniker through the Pale Blue Dot project, a nonprofit that lets people "adopt" a star for as little as $10. (The proceeds from the star adoptions are used to fund astronomy research.)

Travis Metcalfe, founder of the adopt-a-star project, told the Moscow Times that his team hadn't initially recognized the derogatory term the Ukrainian astronomers had chosen for their star.

"It says 'Putin is a d**khead,' but in Ukrainian -- so we didn't recognize what it actually said. I wasn't familiar with the term huilo," Metcalfe said.

He insisted, however, that the star will keep its new, explicit name.

"Free speech is now written in the stars," he said. "We have no plans to censor any of these star adoptions. We appreciate the support for science."

According to The Wire, the term "Putin Huilo" has been around for a while as both a meme and slang. "Its origins are as a song, possibly written by soccer fans," the news outlet reported.

The term gained wider recognition after being chanted by Ukraine supporters during protests. In June, Ukraine’s interim foreign minister, Andrii Deshchytsia, made headlines when he used the term to refer to the Russian president.

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