IAU100 NameExoWorlds gives every country in the world the opportunity to name an exoplanet and its host star. Ireland has been assigned the honour of giving a popular name to HAT-P-36b, an exoplanet 1.8 times Jupiter’s mass, in the Canes Venatici constellation, and the planet’s host star which is comparable in age and mass to our Sun.
Within the framework of its 100th anniversary commemorations, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) is organising the IAU100 NameExoWorlds global competition that allows any country in the world to give a popular name to a selected exoplanet and its host star. Over 70 countries have already signed up to organise national campaigns that will provide the public with an opportunity to vote. The aim of this initiative is to create awareness of our place in the Universe and to reflect on how the Earth would potentially be perceived by a civilisation on another planet.
So what exactly is an Exoplanet, and how do we find them? Check out the video below to find out.
The IAU is the authority responsible for assigning official designations and names to celestial bodies and now, while celebrating its first 100 years of fostering international collaboration (IAU100), it wishes to contribute to the fraternity of all people with a significant token of global identity. Following the first NameExoWorlds competition, which named 19 exoplanets in 2015, the IAU will now, within the framework of the IAU100 NameExoWorlds project, offer every country the chance to name one planetary system, comprising an exoplanet and its host star. Each nation’s designated star is visible from that country, and sufficiently bright to be observed through small telescopes. This is only the second time in history that a competition will lead to the naming of stars and exoplanets.
For more information on this competition and what it means for Ireland, check out Science Space, BCO’s Education Portal.