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IAU: No, You Can't Name That Exoplanet

Soulskill posted 1 year,7 days | from the who-died-and-made-you-president-of-planet-names dept.

Space 142

astroengine writes "The International Astronomical Union (IAU) — the official body that governs the designations of all celestial bodies — in their capacity of purveyors of all things 'official' has deemed attempts at crowdsourcing names for exoplanets illegitimate. 'In the light of recent events, where the possibility of buying the rights to name exoplanets has been advertised, the International Astronomical Union wishes to inform the public that such schemes have no bearing on the official naming process,' writes Thierry Montmerle, General Secretary of the IAU in Paris, France. Although the 'schemes' are not specifically named, the most popular U.S.-based "exoplanet naming" group Uwingu appears to be the target of today's IAU statement. Set up by Alan Stern, planetary scientist and principal investigator for NASA's Pluto New Horizons mission, Uwingu encourages the public to nominate and vote (for a fee) on names for the slew of exoplanets steadily being discovered."

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So what (4, Informative)

aaaaaaargh! (1150173) | 1 year,7 days | (#43434735)

You can name planets as you like. Whether you're understood or not depends on how many others follow your naming convention, of course.

Re:So what (0, Interesting)

Synerg1y (2169962) | 1 year,7 days | (#43434775)

The whole thing is ironic because we're not actually finding planets, we're finding light discontinuities that were once celestial objects, a "planet" millions of light years ago could've become space dust millions of light years ago and we wouldn't know.

Re:So what (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#43434853)

The "planets" were finding are a lot closer, probably not more than a thousand light years away but either way they cant become dust millions of light years ago as light year is a measure of distance not time.

Re: So what (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#43434983)

Err..light year is a measure of distance but the light we see from something 1000 light years away ... is literally 1000 years old by the time it reaches us.

Re: So what (4, Insightful)

MBGMorden (803437) | 1 year,7 days | (#43435169)

Err..light year is a measure of distance but the light we see from something 1000 light years away ... is literally 1000 years old by the time it reaches us.

Err, in astronomical terms a few thousand years is a blip. Would you go around correcting people at work every time they mention "home" to mention: "You don't know if there's is a home. For all you know it could have already burned down before you get back.".

No - it's stupid. Any planet observable with these techniques is close enough that there's such a small chance of it being destroyed by now that its not even worth worrying about.

Re: So what (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#43435487)

Err..light year is a measure of distance but the light we see from something 1000 light years away ... is literally 1000 years old by the time it reaches us.

There is no independent time standard. An even occurs when you observe it. There no other constant way to view thing. An even didn't happen 1000 years ago, because it happened 1000 light years away. The light literally doesn't age. It's traveling literally at the speed of light, so time has literally stopped for it. From the reference frame of the light, it has traveled 1000 light years in literally zero time, literally instantaneously.

Re:So what (1)

Zachariah Day (2882443) | 1 year,7 days | (#43434923)

...a "planet" millions of light years ago could've become space dust millions of light years ago and we wouldn't know.

A light year is a unit of distance, not time.

Re:So what (5, Funny)

dkleinsc (563838) | 1 year,7 days | (#43434955)

A light year is a unit of distance, not time.

Says a man who's never made the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs.

Re:So what (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#43435565)

Started to say something like this, then saw that it'd already been done better, thank you.

Re:So what (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#43435707)

This again? The statement makes sense: Han was talking about the distance traveled (his path bringing him closer to a black hole than the typical route) and not the amount of time spent.

Re:So what (1)

mjperson (160131) | 1 year,7 days | (#43435869)

This again? The statement makes sense: Han was talking about the distance traveled (his path bringing him closer to a black hole than the typical route) and not the amount of time spent.

The retcon is strong in this one...

Re:So what (3, Insightful)

geminidomino (614729) | 1 year,7 days | (#43435939)

If that were an actual answer instead of an ass-pull so that they could convince naive people that they didn't fuck up, it would have been in response to Kenobi asking "Is it a maneuverable ship" not "Is it a fast ship?"

You could do the Kessel run in 12 parsecs in a Ford Pinto, it would just take awhile.

Re:So what (1)

treeves (963993) | 1 year,6 days | (#43436593)

Maybe the Kessel Run was like a Traveling Salesman problem, so doing it in a short distance meant you were smart/efficient/had a good algorithm! Nothing to do with the ship of course, in that case, though.

Re:So what (1)

painandgreed (692585) | 1 year,6 days | (#43436941)

If that were an actual answer instead of an ass-pull so that they could convince naive people that they didn't fuck up, it would have been in response to Kenobi asking "Is it a maneuverable ship" not "Is it a fast ship?"

You could do the Kessel run in 12 parsecs in a Ford Pinto, it would just take awhile.

Nope. because the Kessel run is around a black hole so by mentioning a distance, there is an inferred and determinable minimum velocity need to keep from being drawn off the path and therefore into a longer run or even into the black hole. Your Ford Pinto would never achieve escape velocity if you "take awhile".

Re:So what (2)

cwebster (100824) | 1 year,7 days | (#43435029)

While your statement is true it missed the point. If I am looking through a telescope at an object that is 1,000,000 light years away, yes, that object is 9.4605284e21 m away from me. What you are missing though is that light I am seeing in the telescope was emitted from the planet 1,000,000 years ago. I am not seeing the object as it is today, I am seeing it as it was 1 million years ago.

Re:So what (-1)

Synerg1y (2169962) | 1 year,7 days | (#43435087)

It may no longer exist and thus naming it would be pointless.

Re:So what (1)

geekoid (135745) | 1 year,7 days | (#43435469)

Wrong. You really don't get it, do you?

Information can not travel then the spread of light as well. As such, it has not been destroyed until you can't see it anymore.

It's like looking down the road at a car coming towards you and saying it doesn't exist becasue I can only see it's past not what it is exactly at this moment.

It exists, I can see it, confirm it, make prediction and those observations and predicts can be done by others. SO yes, name the point in the sky with the light so we can call it something when talking about it.

Re:So what (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#43435573)

Information can not travel then the spread of light as well. As such, it has not been destroyed until you can't see it anymore

Er, yes, but, while reality propagates at the speed of light, barring some physics-breaking FTL travel, you're stuck in physics too; in order to ever get to the planet 1 million light years away, your space ship's existence must also propagate at the speed of light (best case), thus to interact meaningfully with said planet, you must travel at least 1 million years forward in its timeline relative to earth, at which time, it may not exist.

Thus you can either merely study its past (local present) as it propagates from afar, or travel to its local present to interact.

Re:So what (1)

Synerg1y (2169962) | 1 year,7 days | (#43435899)

Yes, but this is obviously the wrong site for such a discussion, I mean we've got a guy who's been on here forever not getting it, so if old members don't get it, the new ones are just plain out morons who wear their asses as decorative (so they think) headgear.

Re:So what (1)

Synerg1y (2169962) | 1 year,7 days | (#43435621)

Let me try to put it another way, you see a light in the sky a thousand years old, you open a worm hole and instant travel there, what's your guarantee that in those thousand years the star didn't exploded wiping out the planet outside of the low probability of the event?

Re:So what (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#43436645)

Stars lifetime is measured in billion of years. One thousand year is nothing.

Re:So what (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#43435737)

It may no longer exist and thus naming it would be pointless.

I suggest we name it "Synerg1y", after something we have here on Earth that's pointless.

Re:So what (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#43435887)

In the space time continuum the only thing that should named "Synerg1y" is the contraception used to prevent your meaningless birth. It might just be considered the greatest thing since sliced bread.

Re:So what (1)

Synerg1y (2169962) | 1 year,7 days | (#43435117)

way to point that out g+ guy, now prove to me those planets exist & weren't destroyed millions of years ago... as a planet a million "lightyears" away by the definition of the calculation of a light year would have emitted the light we're seeing today exactly a million years ago.

*crickets*

Re:So what (3, Insightful)

MBGMorden (803437) | 1 year,7 days | (#43435201)

The FARTHEST exoplanetary system we've discovered is around the star NY Virginis which is 26,940 light years away. The majority are much closer than that. The likelihood that any planet that we can see just "doesn't exist" 27,000 years (or less) later is minuscule. That span of time is nothing when it comes to the lifespan of a planet.

Re:So what (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#43435267)

Most of the exoplanets we've discovered so far are within a couple hundred light years of here. Unless they've gone Ceti Alpha VI on us, it's almost certain they still exist.

Re:So what (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#43435441)

Prove to me the sun hasn't already been destroyed and we just haven't seen the effects of since we're 8 light minutes away.
*crickets*

How you use the term matters, "Millions of light years ago" deeply misses the point on what the term means AND demonstrates you have no understanding of the actual distances involved. We're finding planets within our own galaxy which is approximately 120,000 light years across. So NONE of these objects could possibly be that far away.

Re:So what (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#43435173)

A light year is a unit of distance, not time

When discussing information latency across interstellar space, that distinction is irrelevant.

Re:So what (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#43435359)

I'll bet you're fun at parties:

"Hey, Synerg1y, I heard you got a new job. Where are you working now?"

"I'm not working now. I left work two hours ago. Besides, I refuse to speak to you because I don't know whether you've died in the 6 nanoseconds it takes for the light reflecting off of you to reach me."

Re:So what (0)

Synerg1y (2169962) | 1 year,7 days | (#43435475)

I bet...

you don't get invited to parties at all. In fact, I feel that way about most internet trolls... never met one at a party, ya know what I mean?

I bet you all look like this too: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2208835/Leo-Traynor-The-day-I-confronted-Twitter-troll-stalked-3-years.html [dailymail.co.uk]

Enjoy your neckbeard.

Re:So what (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#43437305)

Well, that was an embarrassing personal outburst. Do you feel better now? Good.

Now crawl back into your mother's cunt before some other prick takes your place, ya know what I mean?

Re:So what (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#43436077)

The whole thing is ridiculous because the IAU is speaking as if it is the one and only body that could have the authority to name such objects. If, for whatever reason, some exoplanet was found and a name was coined for it, whether a celebrity, the mass media, or the corporation that found it, and it caught on, is anyone going to care what the IAU thinks? Their "official naming process" is only authoritative because there's no competition to its authority. As soon as the public likes some other naming process better (IAU: "I know the public wants the recently-discovered alien-life-bearing planet to be named 'Serenity', but we've chosen 'Ophiotaurus''), the IAU will find themselves powerless.

Re:So what (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#43435089)

Why should we be putting money in Alan Stern's pocket? This process should either be free or 100% of fees should go to charity.

Re:So what (1)

ron_ivi (607351) | 1 year,7 days | (#43435185)

You can name planets as you like.

Indeed.

I'm hoping Uwingu issues a rebuttal saying that the IAU's names are "illegitimate" and not officially recognized by Uwingu.

Re:So what (1)

TheRecklessWanderer (929556) | 1 year,7 days | (#43436045)

I do not recognize the unsubstantiated claim of the IAU to name planets and other celestial bodies. I am therefore implementing my own naming convention. Starting with the first object to the left of the sun, they will be named TRW1, followed by TRW2 and so on until we run out of numbers. Thank you for listening.

SC (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#43434747)

Internet voting on planet names? I'll save you the trouble. Just name them all "Steven Colbert" and be done with it.

Oh well. (2)

grub (11606) | 1 year,7 days | (#43434755)

Guess my vote for calling that black hole "Goatse" was for nothing.

Re:Oh well. (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#43434801)

It should have been designated BH-6047-SE

Re:Oh well. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#43435311)

You mean I CAN'T officially name a planet "You Lost The Game"? Man, it's just not even any fun anymore...

the names want to be free (1)

optikos (1187213) | 1 year,7 days | (#43434763)

Just like the bits, the names want to be free. Open source the naming of planets to wrest proprietary control of naming rights away from IAU.

Re:the names want to be free (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#43434931)

I will call him "George". And I will hug him and love him for ever and ever.

For naming things within our solar system... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#43434765)

there is this practical, "official" website by the IAU: http://planetarynames.wr.usgs.gov/

Yes, you can propose name for any geological name on any celestial body in our solar system. But you can not name anything after a living person, *and* you'll have to explain why the feature you chose is scientifically interesting, and the name either fitting or important.

Current naming system is going to fail anyways (1)

emagery (914122) | 1 year,7 days | (#43434797)

Good luck stopping me; but besides that, as the number of them ramp up, we're going to have to change our naming methodologies anyways... probably to some compound lexical stuff, not unlike street addresses so that the same names can be used and reused and reused and not confuse anyone when spoken in proper context. Oh, a mission to Sol Terra Luna? Which one? Oh! The one over by way of Arcturus Region? You betcha! We'll have to define semiamorphous regions determined by medium shifts (voids, nebulae, rifts, arms, etc) and named after their most prominent, un, stellarmarks (think landmarks.) The brightest object in our vicinity is Arcturus, the the local region is likely to carry its name or some derivation of it... but our current naming metholodies (alpha lyre, etc) fail to account for the fact that alpha and beta have no relationship at all with one another, and can be further from each other than one is from us, except from lining up from our one unique perspective in space... once you travel elsewhere, that perspective is lost...

Re:Current naming system is going to fail anyways (2)

hde226868 (906048) | 1 year,7 days | (#43434897)

the current naming system for stars is a.ready unique. The case that you are mentioning (alpha Lyrae etc.) is the so-called Bayer designation, that is a historic naming scheme for the around 1500 brightest stars. Official star names are NOT the Bayer names, but usually done according to their catalogue numbers. For example, my slashdot name, HDE 226868, is the donor star of the black hole Cygnus X-1, which happens to be number 226868 in the Henry Draper Extension catalogue. These names are unique. The IAU has since then gone to naming schemes that essentially are what you want already, i.e., for new astronomical objects the "names" really are the position of the object in the sky. So, for example, Swift J 164449.3+573451, a black hole candidate. This object was discovered by the Swift satellite and is at the location RA: 16h 44m 49.3s, declination 57d34m51s. (the J means that the coordinate is for the epoch and equinox 2000.0, i.e., it takes the precession of the Earth's axis into account) If the distance of this object were known, its position relative to us would be known. In a few years, when the Gaia mission is done, we will have such coordinates for all objects in the milky way. Note that your designation using "medium shifts" (similar to names used in some SciFi books and movies) is far less accurate than what astronomers can already do for those stars where distances are known, namely give spatial coordinates (x,y,z coordinates relative to Earth; you can calculate these easily based on the right ascension, declination, and distance). After the Gaia satellite, the Galactic coordinate system will be well enough known such that we can give absolute positions in a Galactic coordinate system instead of Earth centric. As the IAU notes, there is a clear precedent on how planets are named (essentially alphabetically in order of their discovery). What companies that try to "sell" naming rights are trying to do is to sham people into believing that this system does not exist. That some of that money is being used to fund science does not matter - fact is, not even the discoverers have final naming rights. And, yes, I am an astronomer.

Re:Current naming system is going to fail anyways (1)

rubycodez (864176) | 1 year,7 days | (#43435143)

not unique. there are quite a few catalogs in common use though, and moreover stars visible to the human eye already have many, many names. if a few hundred million internet users come up with a name for a star, of course that would, for the common people, overrule any catalog number the IAU makes. we don't call our elbow an olecranon either.

Re:Current naming system is going to fail anyways (1)

emagery (914122) | 1 year,7 days | (#43435423)

Yeah, and while a computer won't have any difficulty making a distinction between Swift J 164449.3+573451 and HDE 226868, a human will... then again, you could argue that we're only going to be getting out among the stars as a human-computer hybrid anyways... so maybe it'll be moot at that time. Until then, 3D lexical scope human recognizable naming mechanisms are going to have to replace the current methodolgies should we ever get the opportunity to move among them prior to such hybridizations.

Re:Current naming system is going to fail anyways (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#43434975)

Given the number of horizon bays and London towns naming failure is not a concern in the us. It still sounds odd to a non-us person to hear paris-france and london-england used.

Re:Current naming system is going to fail anyways (1)

Ol Biscuitbarrel (1859702) | 1 year,7 days | (#43435085)

People don't shy away from redundancy. Case in point: List of the most common U.S. place names - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia [wikipedia.org]. 50 Greenvilles, 28 Springfields. And 250 places named Washington Township. Geographic landmarks are even worse in this respect. Lord knows how many Rock Creeks are out there.

Re:Current naming system is going to fail anyways (2)

emagery (914122) | 1 year,7 days | (#43435597)

Hence my having stressed lexicality... scope. If you are in the neighborhood of london, england, you can just say 'london' and people can presume with almost complete accuracy that you mean the one nearby. There are, however, probably like 20 londons in the USA... Now... a star light ours (Sol) is not remarkable at all. It's a dim, boring little star amidst a sea of hundreds of billions of stars amidst a sea of tens of trillions of seas of suns. It's only slightly less podunk than its neighbors, but dwarfed in long distance visibility by sirius and even more so by vega and arcturus in our immediate vicinity. That said, as a TERM, sol(ar) would be super useful in describing suns that would appeal to us in any given neighborhood... and to call a world 'terran' would be descriptive as well... so the names, as we do already on earth, are likely to be used over and over and over and over should we ever span galactic. If you're in this neck of the woods, then you could probably just say 'terra' and, as with the City of London, most anyone would know to which of the tens of thousands of planets in the vicinity you are referring to... but if you're traveling here from thousands of light years away, then you'll have flown passed dozens of planets the pilgrims on which would like to be able to name in homage to or for descriptive similarity the world of their origins. So it just makes sense, if you can get around out there, that you'd do exactly what we do here on earth... reusing names and referencing their 'depth of name' based on the scope of your current conversation. Orionia (arm) Arcturum (region) Sol (star) Terra (planet) Luna (moon) v. ??? (arm) Bellatrixum (area) Aria (star) Ares (planet) Terra (moon). There are lots of names yet to be used for planets.... but there are far too many out there not to be repeated thousands of times over.

I do declare (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#43434813)

... my arbitrary baseless authority(as all authority is) to be the sole objective 'official body decider' for what everyone else will call any planet! Just look at my impressive office and the placard on the door and this title that a small group of other people call me!

Anyone else feel sorry for people like that? Such diluted tools wasting their lives imagining they can choose for everyone else. It is disgusting to watch.

Re:I do declare (1)

emagery (914122) | 1 year,7 days | (#43435699)

Authority is given, though some think it can be taken. Those need a bit of a reminder of the contrary from time to time, eh?

Planet Uwingu (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#43434829)

sounds good to me :-)

Everyone gets a planet.... (1, Interesting)

TimO_Florida (2894381) | 1 year,7 days | (#43434877)

With the possibility of hundreds of billions of planets in the Milky Way galaxy alone, EVERYONE should get their own planet...

Re:Everyone gets a planet.... (2)

Talderas (1212466) | 1 year,7 days | (#43434997)

And YOU get a planet. And YOU get a planet. And YOU get a planet. And YOU get a planet. And YOU get a planet. And YOU get a planet.

Someone better call Oprah.

Why don't just go with standard SGC designations (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#43434891)

I mean what's not to like about P3X-439 and such?

with that in mind (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#43434929)

I hereby name this exoplanet 'foobar'

Re:with that in mind (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#43435291)

And its satellite you can call Columns UI.

Rocky Mozell's star registry (3, Funny)

marvinglenn (195135) | 1 year,7 days | (#43434951)

So where's the IAU when I keep hearing this radio commercial for the bullshit "Internaltional Star Registry" from Rocky Mozell? Or did they already smack that one down, and all the suckers who keep giving him money to run commercials didn't get the memo?

Lol (1)

TheSkepticalOptimist (898384) | 1 year,7 days | (#43434977)

If a billion people call a planet Bob, guess what, that planet is going to be called Bob regardless of whatever some US naming committee has to say about it.

So all welcome Bob the newest exoplanet!

Re:Lol (4, Informative)

ceoyoyo (59147) | 1 year,7 days | (#43435175)

The International Astronomical Union gives astronomical objects their official names, by international agreement. They accept suggestions and proposals, but they do not sell naming rights.

You can call astronomical objects whatever you want. The IAU is pointing out that paying someone for the privilege is kind of a dumb thing to do.

Re:Lol (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#43435355)

The IAU is not a US body; it's an international NGO. It is not even headquartered in the US; it's headquartered in France.

Part of it's purpose is name and maintain naming conventions of celestial bodies through international cooperation and it has a huge membership of astronomers. So if the IAU doesn't call a planet Bob then it is unlikely that the astronomical community at large will call a planet Bob and it is also unlikely that the world at large will call a planet Bob.

You find it, you name it (2, Interesting)

Atrox666 (957601) | 1 year,7 days | (#43435051)

These guys should have nothing to say about it. It should be the person who finds it gets naming rights, they earned it. If they want to sell their rights that should be their option too.

Re:You find it, you name it (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#43435211)

The person who get there first should get to name it.

Re:You find it, you name it (3, Funny)

Zadaz (950521) | 1 year,7 days | (#43435297)

Yeah, but who's going to settle on a planet in orbit around Joe Smith's Giant Cock And Balls, or Spectacular Illumination By GoDaddy.com?

And when we finally meet the aliens from Tostitos III, how do we explain that to them?

Re:You find it, you name it (1)

dwye (1127395) | 1 year,6 days | (#43437505)

And when we finally meet the aliens from Tostitos III, how do we explain that to them?

Well, assuming that they do not have a 95% die-off as a consequence of meeting us, we will probably be stuck with their names, as long as they can be pronounced by non-!Kung humans (and differentiated from similar names -- if it matters terribly what the levels of the 6th vs. 7th overtones of the fundamental tone are, so that only those with perfect pitch and hearing can use their names, we will make up our own).

Re:You find it, you name it (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#43435567)

Who exactly would that person be? If one team of scientists first announces that there are signs of an exoplanet around a certain star does one of them (who in that case? the team leader? the largest sponsor?) get to name it when another team much later confirms that there indeed is an exoplanet? Or says that with 99 % certainty?

The IAU exists to provide fair and logical naming but since you've probably never heard of them before and read France in the summary you decided to immediately post a nonsense objection. Until inhabitants of exoplanets raise objections, the IAU is the best solution.

Re:You find it, you name it (2)

geekoid (135745) | 1 year,7 days | (#43435605)

You don't know modern astronomy, do you?

A) Names are created in such a way that people can find that star again. 'Bob's Star' tells you what, exactly?
B) most star found aren't observable with the naked eye
C) Its' a scientific process. As such it need a logic framework whenever possible.
D) There are machines in space that catalog 100,000s of stars. Who names those?

People like you are killing science and progress.

Re:You find it, you name it (1)

Princeofcups (150855) | 1 year,7 days | (#43435987)

These guys should have nothing to say about it. It should be the person who finds it gets naming rights, they earned it. If they want to sell their rights that should be their option too.

How does this make any sense? New planets are found because dozens of people munge data from dozens of telescopes and detectors and discover fluctuations that imply planets of certain sizes. This isn't some bearded "professor" looking through a little eye piece proclaiming "I have discovered a new planet!" That's why the astronomical community as a whole controls things like names, so everyone knows what they are talking about, especially when they re-discover the same thing, or get better data on something. There's no vanity naming any more.

Re:You find it, you name it (1)

gl4ss (559668) | 1 year,7 days | (#43435989)

the person who invents an use for the discovery and can get others to use his documentation on the subject gets to name the planets.

so they can sell their rights for naming it if they discover a planet.. but.. they got no legal right to keep me from calling that planet hellhole-3.

Re:You find it, you name it (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#43437349)

Hahahahahaha!

Oh wait... HAHAHAHAHAHAAA!

Probably (3, Insightful)

argStyopa (232550) | 1 year,7 days | (#43435057)

Yes, it does seem like there should be some rigor to the process. I don't want my descendants emigrating to the planet "My Hairy Balls"* because I was drunk and happened to have some spare cash lying around that day.

*although it would, perhaps, be a poetic illustration of the circle of life.

Re:Probably (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#43436325)

Shouldn't it be "Ball" singular?

potentially habitable (2)

drwho (4190) | 1 year,7 days | (#43435063)

A while back, some people thought it might be good to name the potentially habitable planets. Therefore, http://www.sinister.com/names_of_potentially_habitable_planets.html

It's what people use (1)

Okian Warrior (537106) | 1 year,7 days | (#43435341)

My Social Studies teacher mentioned that there was so much black market trading in colonial America that we decided to base our currency on the Spanish dollar [wikipedia.org] and "centavo" instead of the pound.

Official is what people use. If something isn't official and enough people use it, "official" changes to compensate; as in, for example, dictionaries.

There are a lot of groups and organizations that declare themselves the authorities in certain areas and set up rules and regulations largely by fiat, with no democratic representation whatsoever. The DEA and TSA come to immediately mind, but I know of at least a half-dozen others.

Of course, when the DEA makes a new rule or regulation, it goes into effect immediately and everyone changes to accommodate...

Re:It's what people use (1)

geekoid (135745) | 1 year,7 days | (#43435637)

The IAU is an internationally recognized science group with rules and government recognition. THEY are the people who name bodies in space with a logical process.

Comparing the to the DEA and TSA just tells us you will pollute any conversation with your pet beliefs about the DEA and TSA

Re:It's what people use (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#43435875)

I grew up in lincoln nebraska. The 'original' name was lancaster. I do not say I came from lancaster...

You are missing the point. Logical has 0 to do with what people do.

Re:It's what people use (1)

painandgreed (692585) | 1 year,6 days | (#43437005)

The IAU is an internationally recognized science group with rules and government recognition. THEY are the people who name bodies in space with a logical process.

I'm sure science and perhaps the government will use those names. However, if a private company would happen to make star charts with lists of planets and sell the naming rights*, publish and sell those charts to the common people with the sold naming rights not agreed upon by the IAU to the point that the common people use the private names rather than the science names, they will be come the de facto "real" names of those planets. The science names would just be like the science names of so many other things in the world that people have little care or knowledge about and never use.

*Let's say a private telescope is built by some eccentric rich billionaire that is much, much better than the rest in the world. They have the best data and sell the names anyway for the planets and stars they discover. I bet those will be the names that end up getting used.

No to IAU and Uwingu (1)

WaffleMonster (969671) | 1 year,7 days | (#43435663)

First off IAU has no authority to tell the public what they can and can't "officially" name anything neither do they have the right to redefine terms used by the public for thousands of years such as "planet". If they are seen as a legitimate authority within their little club good for them.

Second how can any of us be certain these exoplanets are actually planets since I doubt we can really tell whether they have yet to clear their neighborhood?

Finally spending money to name/vote on planets is a fairly seedy activity leaving me with a low opinion of both organizations.

Re:No to IAU and Uwingu (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#43435873)

First off IAU has no authority to tell the public what they can and can't "officially" name anything neither do they have the right to redefine terms used by the public for thousands of years such as "planet". If they are seen as a legitimate authority within their little club good for them.

Second how can any of us be certain these exoplanets are actually planets since I doubt we can really tell whether they have yet to clear their neighborhood?

Finally spending money to name/vote on planets is a fairly seedy activity leaving me with a low opinion of both organizations.

Astronomers have given the IAU the authority to make these naming decisions. This means that astronomers will essentially always follow the naming conventions established by the IAU.

When it comes to doing astronomy, what astronomers declare is basically all that matters. The media follows their lead, and they follow their own lead in their writing.

Yeah, you can have stupid crap like when Illinois declared that Pluto really was a planet. But guess what? NOBODY CARES. Everybody who matters ignores stupid stuff like that that goes against what the IAU says.

So you can quibble about whether the IAU is an "official" authority or if the are only a "de facto" authority. But arguing semantics like that is just a waste of time.

Greed and gullibility (1)

Qzukk (229616) | 1 year,7 days | (#43435759)

If you believe that uwingu can sell you the right to name a planet, I've got a bridge in Brooklyn you can name!

Oh, lord, won't you buy me an exoplanet to name... (1)

girlinatrainingbra (2738457) | 1 year,7 days | (#43435841)

Well, if that won't work, I've got the naming rights to a bridge in Brooklyn... How much money did you say you have?

Oh lord won't you buy me a planet of my own.
My friends all have Galaxie 500s,
I must make amends.
.
I'm counting on you, I.A.U., please don't let me down.
My boyfriend says you won't sell him a star
for my pretty name..
.
Prove that he loves me and sell him the next round orb,
Oh honey, won't you buy me an exoplanet to terraform ?
.
[hmm, i'll work on the rest of the lyrics later... gia]

Humanity at its best. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#43435909)

It's quite absurd that we as a species have a group of people deciding what a planet nobody has been to and probably never will, be called.

Douglas Adams would probably have an opinion on this.

Planet names (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#43435929)

Shouldn't we ask the people living on those planets what they call it?

This Valentine's Day... (1)

rnturn (11092) | 1 year,7 days | (#43436193)

... do something special: name an exoplanet after someone.

(Maybe it's only funny because on my way to work I used to drive past that outfit that names stars for you, registered the name in a book at the Library of Congress, and gave you a hokey star map so you could find it.)

I've named lots of exoplanets... (1)

AJWM (19027) | 1 year,6 days | (#43436599)

As has every other science fiction writer who writes space opera or interstellar sf. Some of those planets might even exist ;-)

Mind, even though several of us might agree that there's a, say, Delta Pavonis III, it's unlikely that we'll agree on the non-designatory name (unless we're writing in the same shared universe). Frank Herbert called it Caladan in Dune, I call it Verdigris in my T-Space series (it's green with skyweed). Other authors have named planets in the Delta Pavonis system without being specific about whether or not they're third from their sun. These guys have the same problem.

Btw, the current naming convention for exoplanets is $PRIMARY-b, -c, -d .. etc in order of discovery, where the primary star is considered 'a'. SF conventional designation is I, II, III, IV etc (roman numerals) in order of average distance from the primary -- which assumes we know all the planets in a star's system.

Once again, humans prove how stupid we are. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#43436655)

Yes, because what WE name a star/planet/galaxy matters to...oh wait, it doesn't. Why are talking monkeys allowed to decide with absolute authority what the laws of the universe are?

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