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Astronomers Want Your Help in Naming Planets

By visiting NameExoWorlds, you can place your vote.

Here’s a chance to take part in creativity, as a public announcement from the International Astronomical Union (IAU) has stated that astronomers want your help in naming planets. The issue has been officially opened for public voting, where anyone can scoot on over and aid in naming 20 planetary systems, that imply 15 stars and 32 exoplanets.

Not all planets or stars have interesting names, with some suffering from a simple addition of ‘b’ at the end or just given a number that, admittedly, has meaning, but it’s tough to remember and it’s not precisely catchy to use. However, for the first time in history, the public is being asked to help in finding more proper names.

IAU is the authority held accountable and responsible for naming celestial bodies found throughout space. Traditionally, their namesakes are often founders, but at least for a good number of them, that particular habit will be altering.

It won’t be entirely up to the public though. In order to avoid ridiculous entries and highly inappropriate options, they had limited the official entries to astronomy clubs and other parties from 45 countries. They submitted a number of 247 proposals, which the public can now vote on at the NameExoWorlds website.

It’s in multiple choice form, where you will be allowed to vote just once from one device, without a need to register. Just a quick visit to the website and clicking on your choices will do the trick.

There are numerous amounts of significant or amusing combinations of names for stars and their planets. They can range from amusing anecdotes to significant personalities in our histories, animals, gods, folk characters to just overall interesting-sounding words. Most would feature a personal note that will also give out an explanation for some of the more confusing ones.

The combination of 51 Pegasi and 51 Pegasi b, for example, could be given a more interesting name. There are 11 possibilities currently available, including “Starry Bunnies” and “Tortoise” (after the tortoise and the hare relation), “Carl” and “Dot” (after Carl Sagan after describing our planet as a “blue dot”), or the more widely known “Apollonis” and “Neil” (named after astronaut Neil Armstrong and his famous excursion on the moon via Apollo 11 spacecraft).

As stated by a spokesperson when inquired why this decision has been shifted to the public, which may include questionable choices, there could be a new meaning to everything once given an official name. “Jupiter” was just a sound the Romans used for a deity before it became the name of a planet.

Those interested in taking part in naming the stars and planets will be able to do so until October 13th, so you are encouraged to head on over and make your choice. Your vote matters.

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