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This article was originally published by rymdaret.se. – This year marks the 100th anniversary of the International Astronomical Union (IAU), and part of the celebration is the global IAU100 NameExoWorlds competition. Each country in the world is allowed to give a popular name to each exoplanet with its host star. Sweden has been assigned a planetary system located among the stars in the Karlavagnen, in the constellation Big Bear.

In recent years, astronomers have discovered thousands of planets orbiting stars other than the sun. Some are as small and rocky as Earth, while others are gas giants like Jupiter. It is now believed that planets exist around most of the stars in the universe and that some of them may have physical properties similar to those of Earth. The gigantic number of stars in the universe, each with the potential to harbor planets, and the presence of prebiotic compounds in space, indicate that life can really exist elsewhere than here.

The IAU is responsible for assigning official names and names of celestial bodies. Now in connection with the celebration of the organization’s first 100 years, the IAU wants to make a clear contribution to promoting brotherhood among all people on a global level.

In 2015, the first NameExoWorlds competition was organized, and 19 exoplanets got new names. Now within the IAU100 NameExoWorlds project, all countries in the world are offered the chance to name their own planetary system consisting of an exoplanet and its host star. Each country’s star is visible from that country and bright enough to be seen through a small telescope or binoculars. This is only the second time in history that a competition has been organized that leads to stars and exoplanets being given new names.

Sweden is one of 70 countries that have already signed up to organize national campaigns that give the public the opportunity to vote. The purpose of the competition is to create awareness of our place in the universe and to reflect on how the earth could be perceived by a civilization on another planet.

  • This exciting project invites everyone all over the world to think about our collective place in the universe, and at the same time encourage creativity and global cohesion. NameExoWorlds reminds us that we all belong under the same sky, says Debra Elmegreen, incoming president of the IAU.

The IAU has produced a large selection of well-studied, confirmed exoplanets and their host stars. Each country has now been assigned one of these planetary systems, and in each case, connections to the country and to the host star’s visibility from that country have been taken into account.

The national competitions will be held between June and November 2019. After final validation by the IAU100 NameExoWorlds Board, the global results will be announced in December 2019. The winning names will be used freely in parallel with the existing scientific designations, with recognition for the people suggested them.

How to find HD 102956 among the stars in Karlavagnen. The star can be seen from a dark place in a good field binoculars, and in this photograph taken by astrophotographer Tobias Forslund, Luleå.

Sweden has been assigned to the planet which today goes under the name HD 102956 b. The planet is a so-called hot Jupiter with an orbital period of 6.5 days around a star that is slightly heavier and larger than the sun (its mass is estimated to be 1.68 times that of the sun, its diameter just over 4 times that of the Sun). The system is located about 400 light-years away in the constellation Big Bear.

It is located in the middle of the Charles Wagon, near the star Megrez. Karlavagnen is a so-called asterism that consists of the brightest stars in the Big Bear; in English it is known as the Big Dipper. From a dark place, the star can be seen with a good field binoculars or smaller telescope.

The planet was discovered in 2010 using the Kecko Telescope in Hawaii by a team of scientists led by American astronomer John Johnson.

The star HD 102956 and its surroundings in the sky. The image is 0.22 degrees wide (slightly less than half of a full moon). The planet is not visible in the picture

So we choose names for the planet and the star

In each participating country, a national committee has been appointed by the IAU’s National Liaison Officers in Astronomy (IAU NOCs) to conduct the competition at the national level. In each country, a committee is responsible for, according to a method and guidelines established by the IAU100 NameExoWorlds board, creating the conditions for public participation in the competition, disseminating the project in the country and establishing a voting system.

In Sweden, the following applies:

From June 11, 2019, you can suggest names for the planet and the star. You can submit your proposal on the website www.rymdaret.se/exoplanet.

To be able to nominate, you should be resident in Sweden. When you register a proposal, you also leave an email address where you can be contacted.

Name suggestions must follow the IAU’s rules for names for celestial bodies. The names should be names of things, people, or places with long-term cultural, historical, or geographical significance. The names can be linked to the constellation Big Bear or to the Karlavagnen. As 2019 is the UN’s international year for indigenous languages, Sami speakers are encouraged to submit proposals in Sami.

A proposal should consist of two names, one for the planet and one for the star. The names should belong together and should preferably be chosen so that more can be added in the future if more celestial bodies in the system are discovered.

Tips and rules for choosing a good name

  • The names should be between 4 and 16 characters, preferably a single word
  • The names must be pronounced in any language
  • The names should not offend
  • The names should not be the same as or too close to the names of existing astronomical objects
  • The names should not be

mainly or only of a commercial nature

  • names of individuals, places or events that are primarily known for political, military or religious activities
  • names of people who have died in the last 100 years
  • names of living individuals
  • names of organizations with links to the sample
  • names of pets
  • invented names (ie new or invented)
  • acronyms or acronyms
  • names in which numbers or punctuation are included (accents accepted)
  • names that are primarily known as trademarks

More about the selection

The planetary systems selected consist of planets orbiting stars that can be observed with a small telescope from the same latitude as the capital of each country. Here is often a link to the assigned country, such as the telescopes used to discover the planet, or the scientists involved in the discovery of the planet. The earlier a planet is discovered, the more certain we can be that it really exists. For this reason, the sample consists mainly of exoplanets that were revealed during the first two decades after the discovery of the first exoplanets. The host stars are generally too dim to see with the naked eye (magnitude between 6 and 12). The planets have been discovered via either Doppler spectroscopy (the radial velocity method) or the passage method (the transit method). All have been discovered with ground-based telescopes. The planets are probably gas giants similar to Jupiter and Saturn, with calculated masses corresponding to between one tenth of Jupiter’s mass up to five times Jupiter’s mass. In order for all countries to have similar conditions, all these systems consist of a single star with only one known planet orbiting it. It is possible that these planets revolve around additional planets that may be discovered in the future.

Read the full story > https://rymdaret.se/2019/06/13/pressmeddelande-iau-sveriges-exoplanet/

Article source: rymdaret.se

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