Will Ukrainians Name a Planet?
The International Astronomical Union is giving every country in the world the right to submit a proposal for an as yet unnamed star and planet
Ukraine now has a chance to name a star and planet in the sky.
The NameExoWorlds project has been launched by the International Astronomical Union, which is the international body of astronomers solely in charge of naming celestial bodies.
Every country in the world has an opportunity to present their name for a star and its exoplanet, Space.com reported. Countries will have until June 30 to submit their proposals to the IAU. So far, nearly 100 are participating. They’re listed here.
However, although Ukrainians revere the Chumaks, the legendary salt traders who followed the stars to deliver goods from the Black and Azov Sea throughout the fertile lands that would become the Ukrainian state, and although Ukraine has and continues to play an important role in modern aeronautics, at this point, the land of sunflowers hasn’t yet blossomed a proposal of its own.
Should a committee organize a project, Ukraine would be assigned a star visible with only a small telescope. That star would have a world orbiting it.
The project is dedicated to the centennial anniversary of the IAU. In order to name a planet and a star, each country’s local IAU outreach office – or volunteer committee in countries that don’t have one – must launch a national campaign to get ideas.
The committees from each country will then choose the best candidates for names and then a popular vote is held to choose the best.
In November, the committees will submit their proposals to the IAU, which will announce the new star and planet names in December.
There are certain rules for naming. For example, the proposed names should be of things, people, or places of long-standing cultural, historical, or geographical significance, worthy of being assigned to a celestial object. Additionally, the two names should follow a common naming theme. As in, the naming theme should describe how the names are related in some logical way that could be summarized in a sentence or two and be broad enough that additional names could be drawn from the literature to name additional objects in that exoplanetary system that might be discovered in the future.
“This exciting event invites everyone worldwide to think about their collective place in the universe while stimulating creativity and global citizenship,” Debra Elmegreen, IAU president-elect, said in a statement. “The NameExoWorlds initiative reminds us that we are all together under one sky.”