iau1701 — Press Release

The NameExoWorlds Minor Planet Award
17 February 2017
17 Minor Planets Named by NameExoWorlds Contest Winners

In 2015, the IAU organised the NameExoWorlds contest, which provided the first opportunity for the public to submit names for exoplanets and their stars. As a result, the names of 19 ExoWorlds (14 stars and 31 exoplanets orbiting them) were chosen by public vote, and accepted by the IAU. These names became the official designations of the exoplanets and stars.

As a reward to the winners, they were given the exciting opportunity to name minor planets in our Solar System. The IAU, via its Division F Working Group Small Bodies Nomenclature (SBN), recently approved the new names of 17 minor planets after the winners made their proposals.

The 17 names are named after astronomers, educators, authors, poets, and theatrical dances, as well as the names and locations of astronomical organisations.


Minor Planet Designation

Minor Planet Name


(6117) 1985 CZ1


Brevard Astronomical Society, United States of America

(6118) 1986 QX3

Mayuboshi [1]

Tokushima Prefectural Jonan High School Science Club, Japan

(6125) 1989 CN


The Thai Astronomical Society, Thailand

(6126) 1989 EW1


Astronomische Gesellschaft Luzern, Switzerland

(6133) 1990 RC3


Royal Netherlands Association for Meteorology and Astronomy, Netherlands

(6134) 1990 RA5


Kamagari Astronomical Observatory, Japan

(6138) 1991 JH1


Hypatia (Student society, Physics Faculty of the Universidad Complutense de Madrid), Spain

(6142) 1993 EP


Syrian Astronomical Association, Syrian Arab Republic

(6159) 1991 YH


Sociedad Astronomica Urania, Mexico

(6177) 1986 CE2


Club d'Astronomie de Toussaint, France

(6187) 1988 RD5


Okayama Astro Club, Japan

(6192) 1990 KB1


Planetario de Pamplona, Spain

(6196) 1991 UO4


TheSkyNet, Australia

(6212) 1993 MS1


Planetarium Südtirol Alto Adige, Italy

(6215) 1973 EK


Vega Astronomy Club, Morocco

(6217) 1975 XH


Libertyer (Student club at Hosei University), Japan

(11780) 1942 TB

Thunder Bay

Royal Astronomical Society of Canada Thunder Bay Centre, Canada

The IAU is delighted to see the involvement of amateur astronomers and of the public in the naming of newly discovered worlds, which, in many respects, puts our own little planet in perspective,” said Piero Benvenuti, IAU General Secretary.

The proposers are to each be awarded a plaque and two certificates for their ExoWorld and Minor Planet naming, commemorating their contribution to astronomy. “We are happy that the proposers are now rewarded with a ‘celestial’ prize, forever written in the sky! The success of the initiative stimulates the IAU to propose similar open competitions in the future”, Piero Benvenuti concluded.

A full list of the citation of the minor planets can be found at the IAU Minor Planet Circular.


[1] The spelling of Mayuboshi (current spelling — Mayubosh) will be corrected in the March 2017 issue of IAU Minor Planet Circular.

More information

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.


Sze-leung Cheung
IAU International Outreach Coordinator
Tokyo, Japan
Tel: +81-(0)422-34-3896
Cell: +81-80-92742454
Email: cheungszeleung@iau.org

Gareth Williams
Associate Director, IAU Minor Planet Center / Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
Cambridge, MA, USA
Email: gwilliams@cfa.harvard.edu

Lars Lindberg Christensen
IAU Press Officer
Garching bei München, Germany
Tel: +49 89 3200 6761
Cell: +49 173 3872 621
Email: lars@eso.org


The NameExoWorlds Minor Planet Award