The International Astronomical Union, the organization responsible for coming up with names for celestial objects, is organizing a global contest that will let people around the world pick the names of 20-30 exoplanets and their host stars by August next year. The results will be decided via an online vote.
The competition and voting process will take place on the NameExoWorlds website, with astronomy clubs and non-profits around the world free to register. Naming proposals must be accompanied by a 250-word rationale explaining the choice. The general public will then be able to vote to select names in April, with the final results likely to be announced in August 2015.
Only organizations -- rather than individuals -- can directly submit naming proposals, but organizations can involve anyone in the decision process and can conduct their own polls and competitions to come up with a name to be proposed to the IAU.
Names can't be longer than 16 characters, should preferably be only one word and must be pronounceable in some language. Planets can't be named after living people or indeed places or events known for political, military or religious reasons.
This Competition Gives You the Chance to Name a Planet
1. Crowdsourced Planet Naming - More crowdsourced competitions for naming celestial bodies could be organized and incorporated into astronomy outreach to generate interest and engagement from the general public.
2. Gamification of Astronomy - More astronomy-related competitions and applications could be developed that make learning about the universe an engaging and entertaining experience.
3. Social Media-driven Naming Contests - Social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram could be leveraged to conduct planet-naming contests and encourage widespread participation from people across the world.
1. Astronomy - The astronomy industry can leverage crowdsourced naming contests like these to generate engagement from the general public and foster new interest in astronomy.
2. Marketing and Advertising - Planet-naming contests like these provide a unique opportunity for companies to incorporate themselves into popular culture and establish brand recognition through innovation and creativity.
3. Education and Media - The planet-naming contest concept could be expanded into educational media, such as interactive educational games and programs that focus on the history of astronomy and celestial bodies.