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From Our Readers: An Inedible Galaxy

The Milky Way above the La Silla Observatory in Chile.MoreCloseclosemore
The Milky Way above the La Silla Observatory in Chile.

Quite a few commenters lamented that the newly discovered oldest spiral galaxy ever seen would be named something as unimaginative as "BX442."

"D Roemer" writes, "It may be an awesome discovery, however BX442 isn't a very good name for a candy bar."

Alas, the legacy of space-related candy bars may not be as space inspired as it seems. The Mars Bar was named after the candy corporation Mars, Inc. founded by Frank C. Mars in 1911.

Today I Found Out says that the Milky Way candy bar, also created by Mars Inc., was the brainchild of Frank's son, Forrest. His vision of a candy bar containing chocolate malted milk resulted in the milk chocolate coated chocolate-malt nougat and caramel that we enjoy today. (Is your mouth watering yet?!)

As for Starbursts, they are a late 1970's import from the UK. Originally called Opal Fruits, the chewy candies were manufactured and distributed by Wrigley, which is now owned by — you guessed it — Mars Inc.

Oh and as for the Milky Way, the name dates back to ancient Greece.

"Next time you are out in the country, look at this band of light and think about how it looks," NASA explains. "This was named by the Greeks as: 'Galaxies Kuklos' or The Milky Circle. The Romans changed the name to 'Via Lactea' or The Milky Road or as we now call it 'The Milky Way.'"

(Marissa Alioto is an intern on NPR's Social Media Desk.)

Copyright NPR 2018.

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