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The Name Game

The votes are in: Exoplanets get new names

Catchy titles given to 14 stars and 31 exoplanets

7:00am, January 18, 2016
mu ares exoplanets

TILTING AT WINDMILLS  The planets of the Mu Arae system, illustrated, are now named for Cervantes characters, beating out those of science fiction writer Robert Heinlein.

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

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