Want to give a name to a planet? Here’s a rare chance to name one discovered by the James Webb Telescope

Anyone can buy or label a star these days, but the International Astronomical Union is giving the general public the chance to name a planet discovered by the groundbreaking James Webb Telescope, a once-in-a-lifetime chance. The International Astronomical Union (IAU) names all celestial bodies, including stars, planets, and extrasolar objects. They want the next set to be nominated by the general population as part of the which commemorates the 10th anniversary of the organization’s Office for Astronomy Outreach.

This initiative has a particular objective: it aims to encourage “communities around the world to connect their own cultures to these distant worlds”.

A list of twenty exoplanets is available to choose from.

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According to the IAU, they are among the first exoplanets that the James Webb telescope will observe. They were spotted using a myriad of methods, namely the “transit method and direct imaging”.

NameExoWorlds 2022 competition
NameExoWorlds 2022 competition
People will have the ability to name both the star the exoplanet orbits as well as the planets in their entries, giving them the honor of naming an “ExoWorld.” The UAI allows the general public to nominate “ExoWorld” for the third time. The last times date back to 2019 and 2015.

We cannot offer names of planets that are personally significant to them. Suggested names “should be people or places of long-standing cultural, historical, or geographic significance, worthy of being bestowed upon a celestial object.” The names of the star and the planet must be correlated.

The UAI has also published a full list of names that are and are not allowed.

After selecting their names, teams should also try to come up with and execute an exoplanet-related outreach activity, such as a live or web-based program educating the general public about exoplanets and their importance.

The maximum word count for submissions written in English should be 300, and submitted videos should be no longer than three minutes, in 360p resolution or higher and with English subtitles. Along with this, a public outreach project report, which should be no longer than 300 words, mentions the team members, the outreach event, and any photos or videos that may have been taken to document it.

The deadline for teams to submit their names is November 11. After consultation with the National Outreach Coordinator, the IAU will then select one proposal plus two reserve proposals per country or territory. The results will be announced on March 20, 2023, after the vote between December 16 and March 16, 2023.

This article was written by Ananya Jena

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