YOU Can Get to Name A Planet (for a cost….)!

March 22, 2013 at 1:17 AM (astronomy topics, curious research, current news, extraterrestrial studies, historic review, late night studies, science and technology, social opinion, web gossip)

I will admit that I have been a bit disappointed, upset, with the so-called names that these astronomers and related scientists have been slinging upon the planets that are being found and observed beyond our solar system.  Something so interesting would seem to deserve a title worth remembering, and attracting the interest of others into the subject.  Yet, it seems as if these exoplanets are being located, then labeled as if they are science project items to sit on shelves that may or may not be reviewed at any later date!

Reknowned planetary scientist Dr. Alan Stern recently has commented about how the discoveries of planets beyond our solar system are being handled.  He, along with several others interested in this topic, are “bored” with the labels that are being slapped upon these recently located spectacles of outer space.  Stern stated that the titles that are being used to designate new exoplanets that are being observed are “boring”, and I would have to agree with him!

The extrasolar planet is a planet that orbits a star that is not The Sun.  Located beyond our solar system, roughly 861 planets have been discovered, so far.  The majority of them are gas giant worlds, akin to Jupiter and Saturn.  Yet, there have been some that could be classified as terrestrial; similar to Earth and Mars.  Several have been discovered which are of masses slightly more than that of Earth, and they have been designated as Super Earths.  Yet, this name is somewhat deceptive, as these planets are nothing akin to our home world.  They too are gaseous planets, yet are given the label of Super Earth because they are slightly more massive than Earth, yet not anywhere near the mass of true gas giant worlds similar to Jupiter and Saturn.  Recent reviews are revealing that Super Earth planets outnumber the gas giant worlds beyond our solar system!

Some of the extrasolar worlds are more resembling of Earth.  These planets have been located more recently, and they have been given the classification of Hot Terran.  This, meaning that these particular extrasolar planets orbit their stars at searingly close ranges to their stars, and they do have some similarities to terrestrial planets (worlds akin to Earth).  However, they are situated at such searingly close ranges to their stars that no level of life that we currently understand could exist upon them.

Dr. Stern currently is leading a project that is funded by his company, Uwingu.  Stern is trying to get actual names to be labeled upon several of the exoplanets that are being. have been discovered.  As many agree with him, there is an excitement about the fact that many planets are being found that are not a part of our solar system.  The allure to such a subject draws interest to several people, on several levels.  I would agree with Dr. Stern in that these planets being located recently have been given titles that are boring!  They should be given names which appeal to the public, which likely will create additional levels of interest that will encourage further scientific studies and advances.Through Uwingu, Stern has this contest started, and it is seeking selections to name the nearest exoplanet to Earth, which is within the Alpha Centauri system.  This planet currently is designated as Alpha Centauri Bb, as it orbits Alpha Centauri B (a star of the trinary star system which is the closest solar system to our own).  The name is quite ordinary, quite boring, and Dr. Stern agrees with that sentiment!  So, a contest has begun, seeking contestants to submit potential name nominations for the planet at a cost of (yes, damn it, a cost….) of $4.99 per nomination.  Having these name choices voted upon will cost $.99 per vote.  Very little, nothing, is free……

Additionally, the selected names will NOT be approved by The International Astronomical Union (the group that actually places name designations upon the newly-discovered planets).  Stern is of the opinion that once the voted-upon selections are  made, the names will be placed into common rotation and use.  They eventually will become the known designations for the exoplanets, and likely will take the place of the hum-drum scientific labels of no actual interest, and of no creative flair.

Uwingu made a prior attempt to create a booklet of names for newly-discovered exoplanets.  It had/has this contest in progress to get a collection of names that can be placed upon newly-discovered planets beyond our solar system.  Each planet’s new name will be chosen from the highest amount of same-names submitted for the particular planet.  This current contest is open to the public at-large, as prizes will be given to the winners of the names chosen, as well as to runners-up to those whose name choices each receive 10,000, 1,000, and 100 votes!

Information about Alpha Centauri Bb. Information about Alpha Centauri Bb. Credit: Planetary Habitability Laboratory/University of Puerto Rico/Arecibo  

SEE THESE SITES!!!…exoplanet-name-contest-alpha-centauri.html…/03/19/name-a-planet-for-science.aspx


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