The International Astronomical Union (IAU) is asking for help in naming 20 of the newly discovered planetary systems, that are located outside our solar system. The IAU has always been in charge of naming newly identified planets, but now they have decided that a massive brainstorming session is required to come up with all of these names.
If every person interested in this matter was asked to provide his/her version of the names, it might have taken us many years to come up with the most popular names. Therefore, the IAU has collaborated with numerous astronomy organizations from as many as 45 different countries to come up with the options. This resulted in 27 proposed versions of sets of names for the stars and their exoplanets.
Now, the IAU will use these proposals to make the final name options for every new planetary system and then the public will get to choose between them. All people who are interested in astronomy and who are excited about this tremendous new project that provides them with the opportunity of actively contributing to a historical moment are welcome to participate.
They will be able to choose between the sets of options, that include the name for the star along with all of its exoplanets. The people will not be able choose a name for the star from one set and a name for the exoplanet from another set because the options include a wide variety of name versions that are connected to one another.
The Huffington Post reports that there will be 11 options available to the public for renaming the star 51 Pegasi and its exoplanet 51 Pegasi b. Among these options, the most promising one is “Carl”, for 51 Pegasi and “Dot” for 51 Pegasi b, in honor of Carl Sagan, the renown astronomer, who came up with the legendary description of “pale blue dot” for out planet.
However, the IAU should expect a close call between “Carl and Dot” and the absolutely adorable “Starry Bunnies” and “Tortoise”, as a reference to the tortoise and the hare.
It remains to be seen what the final versions will be, but the fact that the general public will have a say in the matter makes this entire process absolutely extraordinary.
Image Source: siliconrepublic