International Contest Renames 14 Stars and 31 Exoplanets
Thanks to a worldwide vote, 14 stars in our universe and 31 exoplanets that orbit them now have new names. The International Astronomical Union — the reigning authority on naming celestial bodies throughout the cosmos — released the winners of its Name Exo Worlds contest today. More than half a million votes helped to decide the winners, which include such inventive titles as Chalawan, Cervantes, and Helvetios.
The competition challenged astronomy organizations, schools, and citizen scientists across the globe to come up with new titles for a preapproved list of stars and exoplanets. Normally, the IAU decides the names for these celestial bodies without much input from the public, but the Name Exo Worlds contest was the first opportunity for people who aren’t part of the organization to have a say in what exoplanets are called. It’s also the first time in hundreds of years that the IAU has asked for public input on new names for stars. Details