Among the wonders he discovers and observes are exoplanetary systems, each of which consists of a planet outside our solar system and its host star, and many of them need a name.
The IAU wants this to be a collaborative affair, so participants should create a team of teachers, students, astronomy enthusiasts, or professional or amateur astronomers.
Once the team has selected their preferred names for an exoplanet and its host star, they must organize a community outreach event that educates the public about exoplanets. Only then can the team submit a written and video proposal that includes names and rationales for their choices.
The video cannot be longer than three minutes and the essay must not exceed 300 words. The team is also required to write a report of no more than 300 words on their public outreach initiative, which could be a lecture by a scientist on exoplanet discoveries, and submit photos or video of the event.
If you were hoping to name a planet after yourself, you’re out of luck.
Naming an exoplanetary system is a huge responsibility, so the IAU has compiled a list of guidelines to follow.
To begin with, names must have a long-standing cultural, geographical or historical significance. Indigenous names are encouraged, but any team submitting one must be led by a member of an Indigenous community.
Also, the name of the exoplanet and its host star must follow the same theme, which means they must be related in some way.
Teams cannot submit names of people, animals or organizations. Any terms related to political, military or religious activities are also prohibited.
National verification processes will take place between November 15 and December 15, 2022, and each country will select one proposal as well as two safeguards. Then, an international committee will review the submissions and choose one for each exoplanet between December 16, 2022 and March 16, 2023.
The names of the winners will be announced on March 20, 2023.