The International Astronomical Union (IAU) is organizing a new competition called NameExoWorlds 2022, which allows you to name exoplanets and stars. But that’s not all – these celestial bodies, no more, no less, will be studied by the James Webb Space Telescope, for which they will be the first such target objects.
It should be noted that the above-mentioned competition is not held for the first time. A similar chance was given to the public in 2015 and 2019, in which thousands of people living in more than 100 countries took part. One of the main goals is to involve not only scientists, but also amateur astronomers, teachers, students and simply people interested in space.
The number of exoplanets discovered so far (whose existence is confirmed) exceeds 5000. This is the name of the planets that are located outside our solar system. The names of many of them are currently limited to combinations of numbers and letters. Among them are the 20 systems (stars/exoplanets) that we have to name within the framework of the new competition (to see the complete list, click here).
In order to participate, a team must be created to come up with the desired names and plan/implement an informational event related to exoplanets, their significance, the possibility of life there, and more. Finally, it is necessary to fill out a special form.
One team from each country will be selected, with 2 alternate candidates. Attention will be paid to the description and meaning of the names, as well as the activities performed. Suggested names should be of cultural, historical, geographic or other distinctive significance (relevant to people, events, places) or related to astronomy (for example, the constellation in which a particular system is located). The requirement is that the pairs of names (of a star and its exoplanet) are united by a common theme, are based on some logic and are represented in Latin letters (to see the full criteria, go to this link).
The team must prepare a maximum 3-minute presentation video in their own language and attach a descriptive text written in English, maximum 300 words. You can submit applications until November 11, and the winners will be announced on March 30.