iau1406 — Press Release

The IAU Directory for World Astronomy website
3 October 2014
Register Now to Enter NameExoWorlds Contest
IAU invites astronomical organisations to join the Directory for World Astronomy

The IAU invites all public organisations with an interest in astronomy to register on the IAU Directory for World Astronomy website for the NameExoWorlds contest, where they will in early 2015 be able to suggest names for exoplanets and their host stars. For the first time in history the public will then be able to vote for the official name of stars and planets. The IAU Directory for World Astronomy will function as a permanent platform for the global astronomical community.

The deadline for registration for the contest is 31 December 2014. Details of the registration procedure can be found on the website. Eligible organisations include: planetariums, science centres, amateur astronomy clubs, online astronomy platforms, but also non-profit organisations such as high schools or cultural clubs interested in astronomy.

The updated schedule for the IAU NameExoWorlds contest is as follows:

  1. A list of 305 well-characterised exoplanets, discovered prior to 31 December 2008, has been selected for naming by the IAU Exoplanets for the Public Working Group and the list was published in July on the www.NameExoWorlds.org website. These exoplanets belong to 260 exoplanetary systems comprising one to five planets and their host stars.

  2. The IAU Directory for World Astronomy website is launched today and astronomy clubs and non-profit organisations interested in naming these ExoWorlds are invited to register. The IAU has the capability to handle the registration of thousands of such groups.

  3. In January 2015, these clubs and organisations will be asked to vote for the 20–30 ExoWorlds they wish to name out of the list provided by the IAU. The actual number will depend on how many groups have registered.

  4. From February 2015, registered clubs and organisations will be able to send proposed names for the planets and host stars of these selected ExoWorlds, based on the rules in the IAU Exoplanet Naming Conventions, together with a detailed supporting argument for their choice. Each group will be allowed to name only one ExoWorld. More details on this stage will be given later.

  5. From April 2015, the general public will be able to vote on the proposed ExoWorld names. The IAU and Zooniverse are ready to handle a million votes or more worldwide.

  6. Starting from July 2015, the IAU, via its Public Naming of Planets and Planetary Satellites Working Group, will oversee the final stages of the contest and will validate the winning names from the vote.

  7. The final results of the selected names for the exoplanets and their host stars will be announced at a special public ceremony held during the IAU XXIX General Assembly in Honolulu, USA, 3–14 August 2015.

In order to adapt to local requirements, the IAU is calling for volunteers worldwide to help with translation — interested volunteers please contact us at outreach@iau.org.

Registration for the NameExoWorlds contest is just one of the planned functions of the IAU Directory for World Astronomy website. The site’s scope is much wider as it will function as a platform for the global astronomical community to meet, and it will act also as an information portal for the public to learn about astronomy activities internationally and locally.

The second phase of the IAU Directory for World Astronomy will be launched later this year, and will include an event calendar, which astronomical organisations can use to publish and promote their events easily through this one-stop service for the general public.

More information

The IAU is an international astronomical organisation of more than 10 000 professional astronomers from more than 90 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 their surface features.



Sze-leung Cheung
IAU International Outreach Coordinator
Tokyo, Japan
Tel: +81-(0)422-34-389
Cell: +81-(0)80-9274-2454
Email: cheungszeleung@iau.org

Thierry Montmerle
IAU General Secretary / Institut d'Astrophysique de Paris
Paris, France
Tel: +33 1 43 25 83 58
Email: montmerle@iap.fr

Lars Lindberg Christensen
IAU Press Officer
Garching bei München, Germany
Tel: +49 89 320 06 761
Cell: +49 173 38 72 621
Email: lars@eso.org


The IAU Directory for World Astronomy website