Twinkle twinkle newly named stars and exoplanets as the International Astronomical Union star-naming contest recently concluded and the winners have been announced.
Ever since 1922, the International Astronomical Union has been naming celestial bodies. In a relatively tight-lipped manner, the stars and exoplanets’ names have been kept to a formal format.
In a first, the International Astronomical Union opened submission for the NameExoWorlds public contest. The result: 14 stars as well as 31 exoplanets now bear names ranging from world mythology to scientific personalities or famous literary characters.
The NameExoWorlds contest was a roaring success. It counted over half a million votes submitted from 182 countries and a whole lot of enthusiasm. Let’s check out a few of the names of the newly baptised 14 stars and 31 exoplanets.
We have Poltergeist, the exoplanet formerly known as PSR 1257+12 c. That certainly looks like an improvement, doesn’t it? Poltergeist is only one of the exoplanets orbiting the alien sun formerly known as PSR 1257+12. From the thousands of hundreds of submission, the International Astronomical Union decided the star will now bear the name Lich, which stands for corpse. Other exoplanets orbiting Lich have been renamed Draugr, a Norse mythological creature, as well as Phobetor, the Greek god of nightmares.
51 Pegasi is another example of a famous star, with exoplanet 51 Pegasi b orbiting it. Now, they shall be known as Helvetios and Dimidium. Here’s a set for literature lovers. The star formerly known as Arae has been newly baptized as Cervantes. The exoplanets orbiting the star, formerly known as Arae b, Arae c, and Arae d and Arae e are known more appealingly known as Quijote, Dulcinea, Rocinante and Sancho.
The NameExoWorlds contest opened in July and ran its course in October. With a first semi-private submission round universities, schools and planetariums gave the first choices. The public came second. All in all, the International Astronomical Union considers the submissions a success.
Despite a couple of cringe-worthy submissions, the majority followed the guidelines. Mythological creatures, gods and scientists, cities and ancient worlds as well as fictional characters will now be featuring on the map of the sky. Twinkle twinkle newly named stars and exoplanets.
Photo Credits: Wikimedia