You Can Now Vote to Name 20 Exoplanet Systems After Sci-Fi and Fantasy Characters

Wednesday, 12 August 2015 - 1:24PM
Wednesday, 12 August 2015 - 1:24PM
Usually, planet names are fairly dry, or at best, taken from ancient mythology. But now, the International Astronomical Union is making a concerted effort to become more hip, as they're not only allowing the public to vote on the names of these exoplanets, they've accepted submissions based on modern popular culture.

According to the rules for this round of exoplanet naming, only accepted astronomical societies were allowed to make submissions. But the IAU accepted several geeky options, including Game of Thrones characters, astronauts, and HAL 9000.

55 Cancri

You Can Now Vote to Name Exoplanets After Sci-Fi and Fantasy Characters

In possibly the most entertaining coordinated effort to unite planet names under a specific theme, one astronomical society suggested naming the five planets of this star system after famous AIs from sci-fi film and literature: Mike&Michelle (The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress), JOSHUA (War Games), HAL (2001: A Space Odyssey), SAMANTHA (Her), and JANE (Ender's Game). 

Opening quote
All cited works have had a very broad resonance around the globe and cannot, therefore, be attributed to a single culture: these Artificial Intelligence entities (AI) are inside us, between us, everywhere. Following this idea, it will be easy to name planets yet to be discovered in this planetary system.
Closing quote

HD 149026

You Can Now Vote to Name Exoplanets After Sci-Fi and Fantasy Characters

You can vote to name one of the planets of this system after Daenerys Targaryen of Game of Thrones (although they misspell it as Jaenerys). But it's definitely the same character, as the justification states that she is "the only surviving child of King Aerys II Targaryen, who was ousted from the Iron Throne during Robert's Rebellion."

51 Pegasi

You Can Now Vote to Name Exoplanets After Sci-Fi and Fantasy Characters

There are several fun names proposed for this binary system, including Neil and Apollonis, in honor of the Apollo missions, or Carl and Dot, in honor of Carl Sagan and his famous "pale blue dot" quotation. One astronomical society also proposed Starry Bunnies and Tortoise, because many of them adorably let children pick some of the names.

Vote now to make your contribution to the galaxy!

Via Popular Science.

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