A global contest has resulted in the renaming of 14 stars and 31 outer planets. Among the new epithets may be included Veritate, Copernicus and Fafnir.
It’s been an international round of votes that have been cast and the results are obvious. Some 14 star systems and over 31 exoplanets have been given novel names. The NameExoWorlds Contest was convened under the auspices of the International Astronomical Union.
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Celestial bodies throughout the known universe have been labeled by this authority. Over 500,000 votes managed to bring into the ambit of being such strange names as Chalawan, Cervantes and Helvetios.
The name-giving inventiveness shows that the level of curiosity and creativity of the participants in the contest simply knew no bounds. The gist of the competitive drive was to challenge astronomical clubs, educational institutions and citizens who were scientists to come up with the brand new names.
It was a global endeavor and the names were for the sake of a pre-approved list of stars and exoplanets. Under ordinary circumstances, the agency does not ask for any public opinion on the matter of naming heavenly bodies. But this time around input from the masses was mandatory which is a good thing indeed.
It’s been centuries since such an astronomical naming took place and that too on a public basis. The names were taken from the titles of mythical creatures from around the different cultural contexts of the world as well as scientists’ surnames.
Among other things, stock characters from fiction, olden cities and words taken from dead languages such as Latin were incorporated into the renaming repertoire.
A star with the difficult name of 55 Cancri was given the novel title of Copernicus. This is in keeping with the fond memory of the Polish astronomer who changed the way we see the world much like Galileo Galilei.
Two other planets that orbit Copernicus have thus been named Galileo and Brahe. Brahe comes from the full name of the astronomer and master Tycho Brahe who was a genius of his times and made many important contributions.
The astronomical nomenclature sure has received a fresh dose of blood via a democratic shot in the arm. There were certain rules and regulations to the contest though. It was not an “anything goes” Howard Stern radio spiel competition.
No one was allowed to include names of pet animals, living entities (be they human beings) or anything from the fields of politics, the army or spirituality.
Full list of renamed stars and planets with original names in parentheses is given below:
- Veritate (14 Andromedae, Star)
- Spe (14 Andromedae b, Planet)
- Musica (18 Delphini, Star)
- Arion (18 Delphini b, Planet)
- Fafnir (42 Draconis, Star)
- Orbitar (42 Draconis b, Planet)
- Chalawan (47 Ursae Majoris, Star)
- Taphao Thong (47 Ursae Majoris b, Planet)
- Taphao Kaew (47 Ursae Majoris c, Planet)
- Helvetios (51 Pegasi, Star)
- Dimidium (51 Pegasi b, Planet)
- Copernicus (55 Cancri, Star)
- Galileo (55 Cancri b, Planet)
- Brahe (55 Cancri c, Planet)
- Lippershey (55 Cancri d, Planet)
- Janssen (55 Cancri e, Planet)
- Harriot (55 Cancri f, Planet)
- Amateru (Ain b, Planet)
- Hypatia (Edasich b, Planet)
- Ran (epsilon Eridani, Star)
- AEgir (epsilon Eridani b, Planet)
- Tadmor (Errai b, Planet)
- Dagon (Fomalhaut b, Planet)
- Tonatiuh (HD 104985, Star)
- Meztli (HD 104985 b, Planet)
- Ogma (HD 149026, Star)
- Smertrios (HD 149026 b, Planet)
- Intercrus (HD 81688, Star)
- Arkas (HD 81688b, Planet)
- Cervantes (mu Arae, Star)
- Quijote (mu Arae b, Planet)
- Dulcinea (mu Arae c, Planet)
- Rocinante (mu Arae d, Planet)
- Sancho (mu Arae e, Planet)
- Thestias (Pollux b, Planet)
- Lich (PSR 1257+12, Star)
- Draugr (PSR 1257+12 b, Planet)
- Poltergiest (PSR 1257+12 c, Planet)
- Phobetor (PSR 1257+12 d, Planet)
- Titawin (upsilon Andromedae, Star)
- Saffar (upsilon Andromedae b, Planet)
- Samh (upsilon Andromedae c, Planet)
- Majriti (upsilon Andromedae d, Planet)
- Libertas (xi Aquilae, Star)
- Fortitudo (xi Aquilae b)
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