STATES CHRONICLE – The NameExoWorlds contest has been finalized and 14 stars and 31 exoplanets have received new names.
The contest was organized by the IAU, or the International Astronomical Union, which is the official institution that handles the naming of celestial bodies. Over 500,000 people from all over the world voted for the 247 names that were suggested by astronomy organizations.
Now people will be able to look at the night sky and say “I see Poltergeist” or “I see Cervantes”, that is, assuming that these planet and star really are visible to the naked eye. This is rather fortunate, considering that before the contest, they would have had to say, unpoetically, “I see PSR 1257+12!”.
The other names are of deities, demons, scientists and writers. Here are some examples: Veritate, Spe, which mean Truth and Hope in Latin. The reasons for choosing these two are that these lofty values are sought by man when he attempts to discover new universes.
Other stars and planets were named after famous earthlings, like Copernicus, Galileo and Cervantes.
51 Pegasi used to be the name of a star; the first star discovered to have a planet, to be more precise. The IAU has now dubbed it Helvetios and its planet, Dimidium.
The planet formerly called Fomahault b also has significance. It is the first exoplanet that was imaged directly. Now it will be referred to as Dagon, a Jewish deity that is part man and part fish.
Voting came to an end on October 31st 2015 and the total number of contributors reached 573,242. The organizations that proposed the names, including universities, school and many other types of astronomy groups, were from 45 different countries.
The winning entries came from the following regions: four from North America (USA and Canada), one from Mexico, one from Morocco and one from Syria, six from Europe (France, Italy, Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland) and another six from Australia, Japan and Thailand.
Other significant names were Arion, who was a Greek poet and musician, Fafnir, a character from Norwegian mythology, Phobetor, a Greek deity, god of dreaming and nightmares and Samh, a Spanish astronomer from the 11th century.
Image source: www.upload.wikipedia.org