London: Astronomers from the International Astronomical Union (IAU) has recently organized a worldwide contest to give popular names to selected exoplanets along with their host stars.
The IAU has invited astronomy clubs and non-profit organizations to submit the proposed names. Votes will be cast by the public from across the world through the web platform NameExoWorlds.
This platform was under development by the IAU in association with Zooniverse. The intention was that millions of people worldwide will be able to take part in the vote. Once the votes are counted, the winning names will be officially sanctioned by the IAU, allowing them to be used freely in parallel with the existing scientific nomenclature, with due credit to the clubs or organizations that proposed them.
The deadline for the first stage of the contest itself was 15 February 2015, when nominations for 20 ExoWorlds to be named will close. In the next phase, once the most popular ExoWorlds have been identified, the stars and planets will be made available to all registered clubs and organisations to submit their desired names.
Each club or organisation can then propose a name for one ExoWorld, with all submissions having to abide by the IAU Exoplanet Naming Conventions and be supported by a detailed argument for their choice. When this stage has concluded, the public worldwide will then be invited to vote on their favourite proposed names.
The final results are expected to be announced at a special public ceremony held during the IAU XXIX General Assembly in Honolulu, USA, 3-14 August 2015.