The International Astronomical Union (IAU) is holding a competition to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Astronomical Communications Office, a project to increase people’s participation in astronomy. The prize is amazing: twenty winners will do outer planets Discovered by James Webb.
IAU is a powerful player in the astrological world. The Covenant is responsible for naming all celestial bodies. It is also the infamous organization named Pluto in 2006 turned into a “dwarf planet”rather than an entire planet.
Names approved by the Federation are official names. So the names chosen by the winners of the competition will be NameExoWorlds 2022. In addition, they will also receive a bonus prize: the name of the star around which the planet orbits will also be chosen by them.
There are some conditions for naming a corresponding planet and star. The parties involved shall form a team, which may include students, teachers, amateur and professional astronomers, and other citizens.
Jean Modal cannot name a planet after his lover alone.
The teams then have to choose one of the planets discovered by James Webb, after which they have to come up with a name. An explanation, such as the cultural context of the proposal, should also be written. After the team has reached a consensus, it must submit a written proposal as well as a proposal in video form. The IAU will guide the teams throughout the process.
Then, the proposals will go through a selection procedure. First, one preferred candidate will be selected for each country, with two teams remaining in reserve. After that, a committee will decide which proposals are most appropriate, after which the two scientists will be named.
Not the first edition
This is not the first time that the International Astronomical Union has held such a competition. The first edition of the competition was organized in 2015. During that competition, 14 stars and as many as 31 planets were renamed. 19 groups from 13 countries from all continents won.
Due to the diversity of the participants, the names of those planets are equally diverse. There were typical Latin names, such as Libertas (freedom) and Veritate (truth). But there were also more exotic Western names, such as all five planets orbiting the star Mu Arae. They are all named after important figures from Cervantes’ Don Quixote. One of the planets was even named after the author himself.
In addition, there are also non-Latin names on the list. For example, one of the planets is called Fafnir, a dwarf from Norse mythology who turned into a dragon. The Thai group also named the solar system after a reptile: the star Chalawan was named after the crocodile king from Thai folklore. The two planets orbiting it are named after a pair of sisters from the story, which is somewhat similar to Beauty and the Beast (but not really).
A full list of names from 2015 can be found through this link.
2019 . Contest
Several planets were named during the 2019 competition. Then any participating country can name a star with one planet. Belgium was also present at that time. Our country renamed the Star of Nervia, derived from Nervi, the Celtic tribe that lived in our region when Julius Caesar defeated the Belgay Confederation. The planet that revolves around Nervia, Eburonia, is named after another well-known tribe that lived in our area at that time, of which Amburix was king: the Eborones.
Other celestial bodies also refer to antiquity. This is how the French named their star Bélénos, after the sun god of Gaul mythology. Around the star revolves around Bélisama, the Celtic goddess of fire. The designation of a star after the sun is not unique: Iceland, Honduras, Lithuania and a number of countries on the list also refer to the sun (or fire) god.
Other popular themes include mountains, rivers, historical figures, and peoples. What almost all of the names on the list have in common is that they show a strong association with the nation that bestowed the name. Only a few countries, such as Germany, have broken this agreement. The country named its star Mago, after a national park in Ethiopia famous for its giraffes. It is no coincidence, because the star is located in the constellation Camelopardis (giraffe).
A complete list of all the planets named in 2019 can be found here find here.
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