You can now vote for the names of 32 new planets

12 Aug 2015

The voting to name 15 stars and their 32 orbiting exoplanets is currently underway, meaning the end of titles like 51 Pegasi b.

The International Astronomical Union’s ‘NameExoWorlds’ competition is open until Halloween, with the new names to be announced before the end of the year.

It’s all part of a larger process to drum up interest in space and help do away with some of the more arduous names for planets away in the distance.

At the start of the year, 260 systems were whittled down to just 20, which each housed alien planets and host stars.

A list of names was submitted as options for 32 exoplanets and 15 stars – five already had established names – and now the options are there for you to vote on.

And you don’t need to fill in any forms, or click through emails, to get to vote. Just go here and click on the name that tickle’s your fancy.

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Some of the planets are actually rather well known. The previously mentioned 51 Pegasi b, for example, was in 1995 the first alien planet discovered around a sun-like star.

It’s based in a constellation called the Winged Horse (Pegasus) and is visible to the naked eye and the ‘b’ in its title is because it has a cousin right beside it. They are 50 light years away from us.

Some of the more creative options to rename the duo include Carl (after Carl Sagan), Jiguaing (a Chinese horse symbol of good luck) Starry Bunnies and Tortoise.

Other awful names soon to be replaced include PSR 1257+12 (in the Maiden), HD 81688 (in the Great Bear) and 18 Delphini (in the Dolphin).

Planet image via Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic