Friday, 23 January 2015

Another opportunity to name something in astronomy!

Following my post a few weeks ago about an opportunity from NASA to name some of the newly discovered craters on Mercury it has been great to hear some of the suggestions you've put forward.

If you missed out on this opportunity to name something in astronomy (sorry the deadline has now passed), but wanted to name something then I have good news for you, there's another opportunity!

The International Astronomical Union (IAU) wants your help to name exo-planets! Exoplanets are planets around stars other than our Sun. In the last decade astronomers have discovered hundreds of planets around nearby stars, thanks to dedicated instruments and space telescopes.

Would you like to name this exoplanet? (Credit: IAU)

The IAU is the governing body tasked with naming objects in the Universe and they want help from members of the public to name these exoplanets. Although people have been naming celestial objects for hundreds of years, the IAU has been given the task of assigning scientifically recognised names to newly discovered objects.

The IAU has called this the NameExoWorlds contest, and the first round of the competition is open to clubs and non-profit organisations from anywhere in the world. To participate in this competition all your club has to do is register with the IAU (which you can do here) and then submit your nominations. The first stage of the nomination process is to choose which new exoplanets to name (you can do this here), and then in the second stage the IAU will seek nominations for their names. Finally, once all the nominations are in the public will be allowed to vote for the nominated names.

But hurry, the deadline for the first stage of the competition is the 15th of February 2015!

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