If you hadn’t heard, our planet just added an ocean!
Or rather, the National Geographic Society just recognized the waters around Antarctica as the Southern Ocean.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration did the same earlier this year, and the U.S. Board on Geographic Names has used the name Southern Ocean for two decades.
Though, of course, the Southern Ocean is connected to the other four, so they’re all kind of one ocean that’s occasionally interrupted by land.
That’s actually where the word “ocean” is derived, from an ancient Greek word that meant one big body of water for the whole world.
As their knowledge of geography grew, the Greeks separated out the Western Ocean (later called the Atlantic Ocean, because it was off the coast of Mount Atlas in Morocco) and the Eastern Ocean (later called the Indian Ocean, because, well, you can probably guess why).
Ferdinand Magellan came up with the name Pacific Ocean in 1520, because he thought the good winds made it peaceful, but for centuries afterward it was better known as the South Sea, because Europeans had to go very far south to get there.
Depending on who you talked to, the world had anywhere between one and seven oceans.
Some people included the Occidental and Ethiopian Oceans.
An atlas in 1878 came up with the divisions that we generally use today, but the key point here is that geography is always in flux and sometimes controversial.
So even as you get used to the idea of a world with five oceans, the map could change all over again.
If you’re walking around again in the world these days, you may sometimes do so while looking at your phone.
South Korean designed Minwook Paeng wants to keep you safe, through a wearable “third eye” that watches for and warns you about any obstacles in your way.
If you’re walking into a wall, it’ll buzz at you until you stop.
Another option is to look up – which may actually be the inventor’s main point here.
How many oceans are there? (NOAA)
Dividing the Ocean Sea by Martin W. Lewis (Geographical Review via JSTOR)
Map via Wikicommons