The NameExoWorlds contest, organised by the IAU and Zooniverse, is now entering its next stage. The 20 most popular ExoWorlds have been made available for naming proposals from registered clubs and non-profit organisations.
Although people have been naming celestial objects for millennia, the IAU has the task of assigning scientifically recognised names to newly discovered celestial bodies by its member countries. The NameExoWorlds contest provides not only the first opportunity for the public to name exoplanets, but also, for the first time in centuries, to give popular names to some stars — those that have known exoplanets in orbit around them.
The list of the 20 ExoWorlds can be found here. Some of them are single-planet systems, while others are multiple-planet systems. Each organisation can submit one naming proposal, for one ExoWorld only. The number of names that need to be submitted depends on which system is selected. For single- and multiple-planet systems, a name for each planet must be submitted, as well as one for the host star. In the 20 ExoWorlds list, five stars already have common names. Consequently, these five stars cannot be considered for public naming. There are 15 stars and 32 planets (47 objects in total) available for naming. The name of the 20 host stars are explained and personal messages from some discoverers are also available here.
To participate in the contest, clubs and non-profit organisations must first register with the IAU Directory of World Astronomy. The deadline for registrations has been extended to 23:59 UTC on 1 June 2015.
The naming proposals can be submitted here. All naming submissions having to abide by the IAU Exoplanet naming conventions and must be supported by a detailed argument for their choice. The deadline for submitting naming proposals is 23:59 UTC on 15 June 2015.
Once this stage has concluded, the public worldwide will be invited to vote on their favourite proposed names.
The final results are expected to be announced at a special public ceremony held during the IAU XXIX General Assembly in Honolulu, USA, 3–14 August 2015.
The IAU is the international astronomical organisation that brings together more than 10 000 professional astronomers from almost 100 countries. Its mission is to promote and safeguard the science of astronomy in all its aspects through international cooperation. The IAU also serves as the internationally recognised authority for assigning designations to celestial bodies and the surface features on them. Founded in 1919, the IAU is the world's largest professional body for astronomers.
IAU International Outreach Coordinator
Cell: +852- 54253118
IAU General Secretary / Institut d'Astrophysique de Paris
Tel: +33 1 43 25 83 58
Chris J. Lintott
Zooniverse, Citizen Science Alliance, University of Oxford
Oxford, United Kingdom
Tel: +44 7808 167288