Here’s Your Chance to Name a Star and Planet in Mississauga

Published August 16, 2019 at 4:06 am


Have you ever looked up at the stary night sky in Mississauga and wished you could’ve named a planet? Well, you may get your chance!

The Canadian Astronomical Society (CAS) is having a contest to propose a pair of names, one for a far off star and the other for an exoplanet.

An exoplanet is a planet that orbits another star other than the Sun we all know and love.

The star is approximately 340 light-years from the Earth in the constellation Bootes and has a temperature similar to the Sun’s.

The planet is a gas giant, with a diameter that is 1.2 larger than Jupiter’s diameter. The planet takes 464.3 Earth-days to orbit the star at a distance that is 1.3 times farther away than the Earth’s distance from the Sun. Since the planet is a gas giant, it probably isn’t habitable by life similar to ours. But if the planet has a moon with an atmosphere, the moon could have an Earth-like climate.

The International Astronomical Union (IAU) has asked Canada to come up with the name for the star and planet, which are currently named “HD 136418” and “HD 136418-b” respectively. CAS is sure you could come up with better names for the star and planet.

CAS says, “the names should be of things, people, or places of long-standing cultural, historical, or geographical significance to the people of Canada, worthy of being assigned to a celestial object.”

Every entry should also have a short explanation. 

The rules for the names are:

  • Between 4 and 16 characters in length.
  • Non-offensive words.
  • Not identical to, or too similar to, an existing name of an astronomical object.
  • Not be trademarked or a commercial product.
  • Not be the name of a living person or someone who died after 1919.
  • Not be a contrived (or invented) name or an acronym.

The contest closes on September 20. A panel of experts will judge entries, and the best entries will receive a unique 2020 calendar from the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope.

Later in the year, Canadians will be asked to vote on the top entries selected by the panel. CAS also says it’s currently unknown how many planets orbit the star, so names that aren’t chosen may be used for future discoveries!

You can submit your entries here.

What names can you come up with for the star and planet?

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