News


Final Results of NameExoWorlds Public Vote Released


The votes are in — the names of 19 ExoWorlds (14 stars and 31 exoplanets orbiting them) have been chosen by public vote in the NameExoWorlds contest, and accepted by the IAU. Reflecting the truly international interest in astronomy, over half a million votes from 182 countries and territories contributed to the new official designations of the alien worlds.

Although people have been naming celestial objects for millennia, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) is the authority responsible for assigning official names to celestial bodies. The NameExoWorlds contest provided the first opportunity for the public to name exoplanets, and their stars. The winning names are to be used freely in parallel with the existing scientific nomenclature, with due credit to the clubs or organisations that proposed them.

With voting concluding on 31 October 2015, a total of 573 242 votes from the public have contributed to the naming of 31 exoplanets and 14 host stars. Proposers of the winning names are to be awarded a plaque commemorating their contribution to astronomy and they will be given the exciting opportunity to name a minor planet.

The public voted on the 274 proposed ExoWorld names submitted by a wide variety of astronomy organisations from 45 countries all over the world (iau1511) — these included amateur astronomy groups, schools, universities and planetariums. The successful entries were received from across the globe — four were received from North America (USA, Canada), one from Latin America and the Caribbean (Mexico), two from the Middle East & Africa (Morocco, Syria), six from Europe (France, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland), and six from Asia–Pacific (Australia, Japan, Thailand).

The IAU Executive Committee Working Group on the Public Naming of Planets and Planetary Satellites validated all the individual cases of the winning names from the vote, as stipulated in the guidelines, and made appropriate modifications to the original proposals where necessary, in full agreement with the proposers.

However, after extensive deliberation, the Committee decided to annul the vote for one particular ExoWorld — tau Boötis — as the winning name was judged not to conform with the IAU rules for naming exoplanets. To this end, the IAU will organise a new contest to decide the name of tau Boötis in the future.

The newly adopted names take the form of different mythological figures from a wide variety of cultures from across history, as well as famous scientists, fictional characters, ancient cities and words selected from bygone languages:

Star
Planet
14 Andromedae
14 Andromedae b
Veritate
Spe
Canada
Star
Planet
18 Delphini
18 Delphini b
Musica
Arion
Japan
Star
Planet
42 Draconis
42 Draconis b
Fafnir
Orbitar
USA
Star
Planet
Planet
47 Ursae Majoris
47 Ursae Majoris b
47 Ursae Majoris c
Chalawan
Taphao Thong
Taphao Kaew
Thailand
Star
Planet
51 Pegasi
51 Pegasi b
Helvetios
Dimidium
Switzerland
Star
Planet
Planet
Planet
Planet
Planet
55 Cancri
55 Cancri b
55 Cancri c
55 Cancri d
55 Cancri e
55 Cancri f
Copernicus
Galileo
Brahe
Lippershey
Janssen
Harriot
The Netherlands
Planet Ain b (epsilon Tauri b) Amateru Japan
Planet Edasich b (iota Draconis b) Hypatia Spain
Star
Planet
epsilon Eridani
epsilon Eridani b
Ran
AEgir
USA
Planet Errai b (gamma Cephei b) Tadmor Syria
Planet Fomalhaut b (alpha Piscis Austrini b) Dagon USA
Star
Planet
HD 104985
HD 104985 b
Tonatiuh
Meztli
Mexico
Star
Planet
HD 149026
HD 149026 b
Ogma
Smertrios
France
Star
Planet
HD 81688
HD 81688 b
Intercrus
Arkas
Japan
Star
Planet
Planet
Planet
Planet
mu Arae
mu Arae b
mu Arae c
mu Arae d
mu Arae e
Cervantes
Quijote
Dulcinea
Rocinante
Sancho
Spain
Planet Pollux b (beta Geminorum b) Thestias Australia
Star
Planet
Planet
Planet
PSR 1257+12
PSR 1257+12 b
PSR 1257+12 c
PSR 1257+12 d
Lich
Draugr
Poltergeist
Phobetor
Italy
Star
Planet
Planet
Planet
upsilon Andromedae
upsilon Andromedae b
upsilon Andromedae c
upsilon Andromedae d
Titawin
Saffar
Samh
Majriti
Morocco
Star
Planet
xi Aquilae
xi Aquilae b
Libertas
Fortitudo
Japan

The complete list of the results, including vote counts, proposers, and citations is published on the IAU NameExoWorlds website.

More information

The IAU is the international astronomical organisation that brings together more than 12 000 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.

Links

Contacts

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

Thierry Montmerle
Chair of the IAU Executive Committee Working Group “Public Naming of Planets and Planetary Satellites” / IAU Former 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 3200 6761
Cell: +49 173 3872 621
Email: lars@eso.org