Romanians are invited to name the exoplanet XO-1 b and the star it orbits, XO-1, the Romanian Space Agency (ROSA) announced. The campaign is held in the wake of the 100th anniversary of the International Astronomical Union (IAU), with around 100 countries worldwide taking part.
Romania is also called to give a name to the two objects until October 5 this year. The proposals can be submitted by an individual or a group (school class or astronomy club). Each proposal must contain two names — one for the XO-1 star and one for the XO-1 b planet — and it must also have a short explanation for the names.
12 valid name proposals will be selected and then voted upon between 12 – 31 October 2019. The top result, together with the next two back-up names, will be sent to the IAU International Committee, and the final names will be made public on 15 December 2019.
Over the past two decades, astronomers have discovered thousands of planets around other stars than our Sun. These planets outside of our Solar System are called “exoplanets” and some can be rocky like the Earth, whilst others are gas giants like Jupiter.
Founded in 1919, the IAU, the international authority responsible for assigning scientific names to celestial bodies, brings together more than 13.500 professional astronomers from 107 countries worldwide. On its centennial anniversary, it is offering everyone the possibility to name an exoplanet and its star. The IAU assigned an exoplanetary system, containing one star and one planet, to each country. Romania was assigned the system with the XO-1 star and its planet, XO-1 b, located at 536 light years, in the Corona Borealis constellation.
The star is very similar to our own Sun, both in its yellow colour (given by its surface temperature), as well as dimension, mass and total luminosity. Despite these physical resemblances, the XO-1 star is 1 billion years of age, over four times younger than our Sun.
The suggested names must:
- Have a maximum of 16 characters and a minimum of 4;
- Be made of one word, if possible;
- Be easy to pronounce (in any language);
- Not be offensive;
- Not be similar to already existing names.
More details about how the names should be and places to check existing names are available here.
It is not permitted to suggest:
- Names of pets;
- Names of commercial nature or protected by copyright or trademark;
- Names of individuals, places or events principally known for political, military or religious activities;
- Names of individuals that died less than a century ago;
- The same name for the star and planet.