The International Astronomical Union (IAU) just released a contest called “NameExoWorlds”, if you are a universe lover now it’s your turn to show off some creativity. IAU is giving the opportunity to common people to name 20 systems and even all of their stars. An unbelievable chance for those who are interest since it hasn’t happened in hundreds of years according to the IAU.
NameExoWorlds began last year when the astronomers chose 260 planetary systems, which host a total of 305 planets that were selected for public’s imagination. Name proposals were submitted by astronomy clubs and nonprofit organizations from all over the world, according to the IAU 45 countries participated. They gave names to the celestial bodies and people in charge reduced it to a shortlist of 20 systems.
The list is available for common people since Tuesday morning. The competition is asking for your vote, people don’t need any registration or fee required. Just enter to NameExoWorlds website. Consider only one vote per computer, smartphone or tablet. There are 247 names available and it’s up to people to decide which planets and stars get which names.
All names come with logic explanations from the organizations and groups that submitted them, there’s a whole range of creatives names. Ranging from made up ones to some that have foundation in science fiction. For example, for the star Pollux (beta Geminorum), the exoplanet Pollux-b is up for naming. The name Leda was proposed explaining that, “In Greek mythology, the father of the twins Pollux and Castor is said to be either Zeus or Tyndareus (Sparta’s King), depending on which version you go by. But all versions have Leda as their mother, so it is fitting that the celestial version of Pollux is accompanied by his beautiful mother Leda in an everlasting celestial orbit.”
This explanations for host stars’ names and messages from scientists who discovered them are available on the IAU official website.
It’s a really interesting project since it let people around the world manifest their knowledge and creativity to participate in such exclusive selection. To let them know what is going around their mind matters. The competition will be at the public scope until October 31. Take part in this challenge, connect with other people and name planets and stars!
The results will be announced on mid November.