Among the wonders it discovers and observes are exoplanet systems, each consisting of a planet outside our solar system and its host star, many of which need a name.
The IAU wants this to be a collaborative affair, so participants should create a team made up of educators, students, astronomy enthusiasts, or professional or amateur astronomers.
Once the team has chosen the preferred names for an exoplanet and its host star, they are asked to host a community awareness event that informs the public about exoplanets. Only then can the team submit a written and video proposal that includes the names and justifications for their choices.
The video length cannot be more than three minutes, and the article should not exceed 300 words. The team is also asked to write a report of no more than 300 words about their public outreach initiative, which can be a talk to a scientist about exoplanet discoveries, and to submit photos or videos of the event.
If you’re hoping to name a planet after yourself, you won’t be so lucky.
Naming an outer planetary system is a huge responsibility, so the International Astronomical Union has outlined a list of guidelines to follow.
First of all, names must have long-standing cultural, geographic or historical significance. Aboriginal names are encouraged, but any team that proposes a name must be led by a member of the Aboriginal community.
In addition, the name of an exoplanet and its host star must follow the same theme, which means that they must be related in some way.
Teams cannot submit the names of people, pets, or organizations. No terms related to political, military or religious activities are also allowed.
National audits will take place between November 15 and December 15, 2022, and each country will select one proposal with two backup copies. Then, an international panel will review the submissions and select one for each exoplanet between December 16, 2022, and March 16, 2023.
The winning names will be announced on March 20, 2023.
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