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News & Press: 2019 News items

Here is your chance to name a planetary system!

Saturday, 08 June 2019  
Posted by: Bert vd Heever
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Wouldn't it be cool if a QS or someone from the South African built environment is chosen to name an exoplanet and the star it orbits? If you think you are creative enough and have a knowledge of one of our indigenous languages, this may be your chance to shine out there in the universe!

But you need to hurry.

This article appearing on Space.com explains it all:

"There's a whole universe of nameless stars and exoplanets beyond our solar system, and now space fans around the world will have a chance to help name these objects. 

As part of its 100th anniversary celebrating, the International Astronomical Union (IAU), a society of astronomers with the sole authority to name celestial objects, is giving every country on Earth the chance to name an exoplanet and the star it orbits. (The IAU also famously stripped Pluto of its planetary status in 2006.)

To name an exoplanet and its star, each participating country's local IAU outreach office (or a volunteer committee in countries that don't have one) must launch a national campaign to solicit name ideas from the public. After the committees down-select the candidates, winning names will be decided by means of a popular vote."

South Africa has been assigned the Wasp 62 planetary system comrising of a yellow-white, dwarf star in the constellation called Dorado. The system was discovered in 2012 and the exoplanet's identification is WASP-62 b. To find out more about this system, click here.

One consideration in the naming rules gives those of us who know an indigenous language a better than average chance to win as In recognition of the UN 2019 International Year of Indigenous IAU OutreachLanguages (IYIL2019), speakers of Indigenous languages are encouraged to propose names drawn from those languages.

The national IAU National Outreach Coordinator (NOC) for SA is Sivuyile Manxoyi who can be e-mailed by clicking on his name or by visiting this page.

We wish you all the very best of luck and please let us know if the name you suggested should be chosen.