Helping Name Exoplanets

Did you know that you can help to name some extrasolar planets? No? Well, you can.

The IAU (International Astronomical Union) is asking for the public’s help in naming the planets that orbit twenty different stars. And just who is the IAU? Well, it’s the organisation that’s responsible for the naming of planets, stars, asteroids, moons, and so on. That means that these names that you can vote on may become completely official.

So, how can you vote? Well, just go here, and vote on your favourite names. Many of these planets are very well-known by astronomers now, and are quite significant, as some of them were firsts.

One of the best-known stars in this list, Fomalhaut is also relatively nearby at only 25 light years. One of the planets you can help name is Fomalhaut b.
One of the best-known stars in this list, Fomalhaut is also relatively nearby at only 25 light years. One of the planets you can help name is Fomalhaut b.

It’s quite exciting that we’re now getting into the naming of exoplanets. There are nearly 2,000 confirmed planets with nearly 5,000 unconfirmed. That’s a lot of names to give.

I’m definitely taking my time to vote on my favourite names. Some of them I don’t think are appropriate or even related to the star or constellation. Some shouldn’t even be planet names, I think. But there are a handful that people put a lot of thought into and even linked it to mythology, which is the standard for naming a body in the solar system. I was surprised to see so many Japanese names available to vote on. Must have been many Japanese people interested in this.

Are you going to vote?

Advertisements

A Real Life Minas Tirith?

It seems there’s a group of architects who want to build a life-sized Minas Tirith in southern England. If you’ve seen the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy, then you’ll know the city.  How much will it cost? £1.85 billion! They’re raising the money through crowdfunding. They expect completion to be around 2023.

Not Minas Tirith, but Mont Saint-Michel, the inspiration for the city. This image is being used under the Creative Commons license cc-by-sa-3.0. It is owned by user b3rny at Flickr.
Not Minas Tirith, but Mont Saint-Michel, the inspiration for the city. This image is being used under the Creative Commons license cc-by-sa-3.0. It is owned by user b3rny at Flickr.

So, will they build it? So far, in 15 days, they have received £74,249 for the construction of the city. I really wonder if they can raise that much money. It may take years at this rate. Actually, it’ll take about 1,000 years at this rate. It’s an incredible thing to build, and I’d love to visit it if it’s ever built. If you want to contribute, you can go to the IndieGoGo page and donate. There are still 45 days left in this campaign. It really makes me wonder if they’ll get an incredibly generous group of people to help fund it.

What do you think? Can they do it? And if they do, will you visit it?

So My Daughter Is a Superhero

It’s often interesting talking with a three-year-old child. You never know what they’re going to say. My daughter is no exception.

We get the usual refusal of food, then anger because she didn’t get the food. She screams because the show she wants to see on TV isn’t on at that time. She gets angry at us because it’s too hot or raining, and she really, really wants to do “shabondama (bubbles)” in the park.  Well, here’s a new one.

Tomoe: “Mama to papa kirin-san” (Mommy and daddy are giraffes)

Me: “Then what are you?”

Tomoe: “Spider-man!”

That’s right. My daughter is Spider-man. She has an interest in superheroes now. She’s watched some of the animated Avengers on TV, and has them associated with their colour, rather than their name. Ironman is red, for example. But her biggest obsession is Spider-man. She loves to see him on TV.

Anyone with young children that have obsessions?