Catchy titles given to 14 stars and 31 exoplanets
European Southern Observatory
Step aside Venus and Neptune, our solar system is no longer the only one whose planets have catchy names. On December 15, the International Astronomical Union announced the winners of a contest to name the planets and suns of 20 systems (SN: 10/3/15, p. 5). Exoplanet enthusiasts in 182 countries and regions cast more than 573,000 votes. Here are five favorites along with some monikers that didn't fly.
18 Delphini b
Winning name: Arion
Relevance: Greek poet who wrote of being rescued from pirates by a dolphin, appropriate for a planet in the dolphin constellation
Losing name: Maru, a large baby from an old Japanese story
55 Cancri and its five planets
Winning names: Copernicus, Galileo, Brahe, Lippershey, Janssen, Harriot
Relevance: Astronomers and telescope makers from Poland, Italy, Denmark, Germany, Holland and England
Losing names: Aregak, Arusyak, Hrat, Yerevak, Paylatzu and Lusntag, Armenian names for the sun and the five planets of our solar system visible to the naked eye
Iota Draconis b
Winning name: Hypatia
Relevance: 4th century Egyptian mathematician, astronomer and philosopher
Losing name: Misopan, a soy-based Japanese dessert
Winning name: Poltergeist
Relevance: Mischievous spirit that disturbs its environment, much like this planet disturbs the steady beat of its pulsar sun
Losing name: Andie, which when combined with suggested names for neighboring planets, Rockie and Rollie, makes this a Rockin’-And-Rollin’ system
Mu Arae e
Winning name: Sancho
Relevance: Squire of Cervantes’ Don Quixote
Losing name: NoisyRhysling, a character in Robert Heinlein’s “Green Hills of Earth”
Final results of NameExoWorlds public vote released. Published online December 15, 2015 at iau.org.
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