What is the NameExoWorlds project?

NameExoWorlds is a project carried out by the International Astronomical Union which offers the opportunity for each country to name an exoplanet and its hosting star.

What is an exoplanet?

An exoplanet is a planet outside the Solar System. They orbit stars or stellar remnants (like white dwarfs or neutron stars). Thousands of exoplanets have been discovered orbiting other stars over the past three decades. The exoplanets to be named via the IAU100 NameExoWorlds campaign are in systems with a single star and only one exoplanet known so far. Other exoplanets may be orbiting these stars, and perhaps even other stellar companions, but additional objects in these systems are not yet known.

How can I participate?

Participants can submit proposals for naming one planet and its star through the submission page between 1/09/2019 and 30/09/2015 5:00pm NZST.  Every participating country will carry its own proposal submission process. 

Can I submit name proposals more than once?

Yes, you can make more than one submission. Entries must be submitted through the submission page. 

What type of systems will be named?

The systems to be named are single stars with only one known planet orbiting around it. You can find more details about these “exoworlds” in the ExoWorlds page. These systems could have additional planets orbiting them, or even previously missed stellar companions (many stars are in stellar multiples with 2, or 3, or more companions), but so far these systems seem to be single stars with one known planet. The stars are visible through a small telescope. The exoplanets are all likely to be gas giants with masses between about 10% and 500% of Jupiter’s mass.

How many exoworlds will be named?

Each participating country will have the opportunity to name one star and one planet.

When will the results be released?

IAU is planning to announce the selected names in December 2019.

Will the chosen names be considered as official names?

Yes, IAU will officially recognize the chosen names. 

Will these names replace the scientific designations for these exoplanets and stars?

No, the names are in addition to the previous scientific designations, and do not replace them.

 The IAU distinguishes between “designations” and “names”. Scientific designations are regularly used by astronomers in the course of studying these systems, and often include numbers (indices, celestial positions), letters (Roman, sometimes Greek), acronyms, etc., e.g. “HR 6585”,  “HD 160691”, “Mu Arae”.

 Names are proper names made up of letters, initial letters capitalized, and without numbers, e.g.  “Cervantes”. All catalogued stars and exoplanets have one or more designations, but only a few hundred stars and a couple dozen exoplanets currently have names recognized by the IAU.

 Read more on the IAU page on Naming of Astronomical Objects.

Are there specific rules for naming exoworlds?

Yes, there are. Check the rules in the Naming rules page.

Can I see the star that the exoplanet orbits?

Yes, the star assigned The star HD 137388 is in the constellation of Apus, and is visible from NZ all year long.  It may be visible with a small telescope. More information can be found here.

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