IAU Gives South Africa The Chance To Name A New Planet

IAU Gives Africans The Opportunity To Name A New Planet
Polystyrene Planets. Photo Credit: David Menidrey via Unsplash

The International Astronomical Union (IAU) has assigned South Africa a planet currently called WASP 62 B and a star called WASP 62, as part of events marking this year’s IAU 100 celebrations.

IAU calls on all people living in South Africa to name the planet WASP-62 B and its host star WASP-62. Individuals and groups (such as schools, clubs, and private/public organisations) are to suggest names for the planet and the star. Suggestions should be backed a motivation letter not exceeding 100 words.

South Africa has an important relationship to WASP-62 B: The planet was discovered by SuperWASP, one of the telescopes near the town of Sutherland in the Northern Cape.

In partaking in this competition, participants are expected to:

  • Suggest two names, one for the planet and one for its star.
  • Use any of the 11 official South African languages.
  • Choose things, people, or places of long-standing cultural, historical, or geographical significance, worthy of being assigned to a celestial object.
  • Choose names for the star and the planet which follow a common naming theme.
  • Make sure any other objects in the exoplanetary system can be named using this naming theme.

Participants are mandated not to:

  • Use names which are offensive.
  • Choose people who have died after 1918 or are still alive.
  • Suggest names of individuals, places or events principally known for political, military or religious activities.

There is no limit to a number of proposals a person or a group can send. The closing date is September 30, 2019.

There are prizes for proposers of the top 6 names. Individuals will win a fully paid trip to Sutherland, while groups will win a 6-inch Dobsonian Telescope and books.

The top three names will be submitted to the IAU on November 30, 2019. The IAU will select the names of the star and the planet from the submissions received.

Click here to submit your suggestion for the new planet.