Previously, you had to discover something in space if you wanted to name it emotionally – but a new competition allows astronomers to not have fun.
The International Astronomical Union (IAU), the group officially responsible for the designation of celestial bodies, recently announced the IAU100 NameExoWorlds contest, which offers every country in the world the opportunity to name an exoplanet and its host star .
And not just any star / exoplanet couple: the heavenly bodies that every nation names will be visible to its citizens with the help of a small telescope.
Name this star
According to a press release, nearly 100 nations have already entered the contest. Each committee will have its own committee to manage the nomination process, to ensure that citizens are informed of the competition and to decide how to submit and vote on the names.
Participating countries will have until November 2019 to decide on the name. After that, IAU will validate the names, ensuring that they meet the naming criteria – sorry, but Planety McPlanetface will not perform the cut – before announcing them all in December 2019.
"This exciting event invites everyone in the world to reflect on their collective place in the universe, while stimulating creativity and global citizenship," said IAU President-elect Debra Elmegreen, A press release. "The NameExoworlds initiative reminds us that we are all united under one sky."
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