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article imageNew planets named in public poll

By Tim Sandle     Dec 16, 2015 in Science
Every so often the International Astronomical Union goes through the process of naming new planets. For the recent round, several planets have been nominated, voted on, and ultimately named by the public.
The International Astronomical Union has announced new names for 14 stars and 31 exoplanets. The names replace the initial astronomical designations originally given by scientists (often a combination of letters and numbers.) The International Astronomical Union is a collection of professional astronomers. The group is the internationally recognized authority for assigning designations to celestial bodies.
The new names selected are the result of different astronomical societies and members of the public putting names forward. The criteria included: exoplanets must have a pronounceable one-word name that's less than 16 characters in length. Names of pets, living individuals, or anything associated with political or military activities was excluded.
Following the nominations, the NameExoWorlds contest began and around half-a-million people voting on their preferred selections.
Some examples of the newly named objects, picked out by New Scientist, are:
The first sun-like star spotted with an orbiting planet coded 51 Pegasi, with the planet first called 51 Pegasi b, have been re-named: Helvetios and Dimidium. Helvetios was a Celtic tribe from the Middle Ages; and Dimidium is the Latin word for “half."
The first exoplanets to be discovered have been called Poltergeist, Phobetor (a Greek god of nightmares) and Draugr (a fictional undead creature.)
Fomalhaut b, an exoplanet is to be called Dagon, after a Semitic deity (one that is half man and half fish.)
Other planets have been named after scientists like Galileo Galilei, Tycho Brahe, and Hans Lippershey. Those nominations that failed to garner support induced “Rock’n’Roll Star” and “Starry Bunnies.”
More about New planets, naming planets, naming exoplanets, gods, monsters and scientists
 
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