Think of a name for an exoplanet. IAU announced a competition for the names of stars and planets

The International Astronomical Union (IAU) has announced the start of the NameExoWorlds 2022 competition. Its participants will have the opportunity to think of names for twenty stars and exoplanets that will be studied by the James Webb Telescope (JWST).

How to name an exoplanet?

At the moment, astronomers have managed to detect about five thousand extrasolar planets. The absolute majority of them have no formal names — only alphanumeric designations.

NameExoWorlds 2022 competition logo. Source: IAU

In 2015, the IAU announced the first ever competition, the participants of which received the opportunity to think of names for 14 stars and 31 exoplanets. The undertaking turned out to be very successful. In total, over half a million people from 182 countries took part in the competition. As a result, in 2019, the IAU decided to repeat it. For the second time, 780 thousand people took part in the competition.

And so, three years later, the IAU decided to hold a third competition called NameExoWorlds 202. It is designed for students, teachers, amateur astronomers and astroentusiasts. They will have the opportunity to propose names for twenty systems (both stars and exoplanets) that will be observed by the JWST.

Conditions of participation in the competition

The participants of the NameExoWorlds 202 competition will have to form teams, fill out a form on the IAU website and send their version of the name for the star and exoplanet in video format and in writing with the justification of their choice. The name should reflect the diversity of peoples and cultures of our planet, “connecting” them with worlds located near other stars.

Standard IAU restrictions will apply to the options submitted to the competition. So you can’t take the name as:

  • names of real people (both living and dead) and places named after them;
  • names already used to refer to other celestial bodies;
  • neologisms, acronyms, abbreviations, compounds and combinations of several words, etc.;
  • trademarks, copyrighted names, names of organizations;
  • pet names;
  • names associated or evoking associations with politics, religion and wars.

The selection of proposals will be carried out in two stages. At the first stage, national selection committees will select the best offer from each country with two reserve candidates. At the second stage, the international committee will consider the options selected by the national commissions and determine the winners.

According to

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