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Public To Vote On Names For Exoplanets 127

An anonymous reader writes In response to the increased interest by the public in astronomy, the International Astronomical Union (IAU), the world authority that names objects in space, is giving the public a chance to name up to 30 planets from a pre-selected group of 305 exoplanets. "Before you get excited about naming HAT-P-7b after your first pet goldfish, it's worth taking a look at the restrictions the IAU places on its minor planet names. The 16 characters or less must be 'pronounceable (in as many languages as possible)' and non-offensive in any language or culture. The names of living persons are verboten, pet names are 'discouraged,' and you can't use a name that is commercial or has political, military, or religious connotations." The proposed names can be submitted by astronomy clubs and non-profit organizations interested in astronomy and votes will be cast by the public from across the world.
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Public To Vote On Names For Exoplanets

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  • Re:Smart move... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by slashmydots ( 2189826 ) on Sunday July 13, 2014 @06:52PM (#47445129)
    You underestimate the situation. You've got 4chan. You've got the Star Wars crowd trying to name them Hoth. You've got the Trekkies trying to name it Vulcan. You've got the scientologists trying to name it who the hell even knows what. You've got MS haters trying to name it Windows 9 (because it's so far away). This is like the internet version of World War 3 because there are so many super powers involved.
  • IAU authority (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 13, 2014 @06:57PM (#47445145)

    Before the whiners comes to explain us IAU has no more authority to name astral bodies than anyone else.

    If you're in the US: the IAU authority comes from the National Academies joining the IAU. The National Academies got its authority from the US president in 1963 when he signed the Act of Incorporation which created the National Academies.

  • Always a con (Score:4, Interesting)

    by djupedal ( 584558 ) on Sunday July 13, 2014 @07:53PM (#47445377)
    These offers to let the public 'vote' are nothing but promotions to get people to visit websites, etc. In the end, the names will be picked from an internal list that is curated by insiders.
  • by UltraZelda64 ( 2309504 ) on Sunday July 13, 2014 @08:07PM (#47445437)

    Under this criteria, not a single planet (or former planet) in this solar system should keep its name, as pretty much all of them run the risk of offending someone who prays to a different diety than the ones that the ancient Romans and Greeks did. Hell, while they're at it, they might as well go through all the astronomical catalogs and weed out all these pesky offensive "religious" names, because they're all over the place. It's pathetic how far people will go these days to attempt to not "offend" even a fly...

Research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing. -- Wernher von Braun