More creative names for spectacular stars and planets

(Mirror Daily, United States) – The NameExoWorlds contest is over and several stars and exoplanets get more creative names after the proposed options and public voting. For the first time in history, the general population had a say in naming stars and planets far beyond our planet.

Traditionally, new discoveries across the universe were named after the astronomer who found them, someone who had earned their admiration, or just given a string of numbers and letters. Since 1922, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) has been in charge in picking names for the celestial bodies. In consequence, many of them were bland, uncreative, and very forgettable.

However, thanks to the NameExoWorlds contest, the IAU has officially renamed 14 stars and 31 exoplanets to something more meaningful. They opened up the votes earlier this year, with 274 proposed names coming from astronomy organizations, universities, schools, planetariums, or many others from 45 countries. This way, they avoided questionable entries that would’ve been highly unsuited for a celestial body.

The public was allowed to pick between the options, and the winners were finally chosen. This was after an impressive total of 573,242 people voted on their favorite names. And, now, we have a new way to call them, which is better than some numbers and letters mashed together that few would memorize.

Ranging from Norse deities and mythology, to famous scientists, writers, and meaningful words, there is now a more colorful way of looking at the chosen stars and their exoplanets.

For example, the star Andromedae and exoplanet Andromedae b are now Veritate and Spe, meaning ‘truth’ and ‘hope’ in Latin. Loosely translated and interpreted, the pair mean ‘where there is truth, there is hope’.

Epsilon Eridani is now named after the Norse goddess of the sea, Ran, while its exoplanet epsilon Eridani b is now named after her husband, Aegir. Similar associations were made when 55 Cancri was renamed to Copernicus, while its exoplanets also gained the names of other famed scientists, such as Galileo, Brahe, Lippershey, Harriot, and Janssen.

Star mu Arae is now named after famous Spanish author Cervantes, while all its exoplanets gained names from his works, such as Quijote, Dulcinea, Rocinante, and Sancho. There are numerous pairings that are beautifully appropriate, and much more memorable. The project has proved itself to have a huge success, with over half a million people voting for the first time it was ever made.

Among the winning organizations whose propositions were picked, 4 were from the United States, 1 from Latin America, 6 from Europe, 2 from the Middle East and Africa, and another 6 from Asia. Perhaps IAU could make NameExoWorlds a yearly tradition as there are many others out there just waiting for a more colorful and memorable name.

For the full list of winners and explanations, those interested can visit the NameExoWorlds official website.

Image source: cosmosup.com