Naming Rules

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If you are curious about the normal naming process for celestial bodies, please check out the IAU webpage dedicated exclusively to this topic. The following rules apply specifically to the NameExoWorlds 2022 edition:

  • The proposed names should be of things, people, or places of long-standing cultural, historical, or geographical significance, worthy of being assigned to a celestial object.

  • Although not necessary, the names may be drawn from themes related to the sky and astronomy, or related in some way to the constellation or a cultural asterism in which the exoplanetary system lies.

  • Two (2) names should be proposed - one (1) for the exoplanet and one (1) for the star it orbits.

  • Indigenous names: In recognition of the United Nations Decade of Indigenous Languages (2022 – 2032), speakers of Indigenous languages are encouraged to propose names drawn from those languages. If one of the names proposed is from an indigenous language, then (1) the team that is proposing the name should be led by and involve one or more members of the Indigenous community, and (2) the team should annex consent to use the Indigenous language by the Indigenous group representative(s) involved in the project.

  • Naming theme: The proposed pairs of names - for the exoplanet & its star - must follow a common naming theme. The naming theme describing how the names are related in some logical way should be summarized in a sentence or two and be broad enough that additional names related to the theme could be used to name additional objects in that system in the future. For example, the 2019 IAU NameExoWorlds campaign adopted the names Ceibo and Ibirapitá for the star HD 63454 and its exoplanet HD 63454b, respectively, with the system theme being "culturally significant species of trees native to Uruguay".

  • Description & Presentation: Proposers are encouraged to make a presentation in their own languages (video of a maximum of 3 minutes), accompanied by a written description in English (one A4 page, Arial, 10, double spacing with a maximum of 300 words). 

  • Format: Proposed names should be provided in the Latin alphabet, and have an initial capitalized letter (following IAU Style Manual). If the original name contains diacritics or comes from a language using another alphabet or writing system, these names should be provided in Unicode UTF-8 where possible.

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In addition, proposed names may not be:

  • Names of real people, living or dead, or things or places named wholly or partly for people, should be excluded. 

  • Names already used (or rather “in use”) for specific celestial objects (adopted by the IAU or not) in a given language, are to be excluded (for example, the Wergaia name for Gacrux is Bunya). 

  • Contrived (new, invented) names and portmanteaus (blends of parts of multiple words) are excluded. Exception: Multi-word names may be combined in some cases (e.g., “Lionrock” was adopted for HD 212771 in NameExoWorlds 2019, named for the “Lion Rock” in Hong Kong).

  • Names that are principally known as trademarks or protected by intellectual property claims, or are purely or principally commercial in nature, are excluded.

  • Names of things principally known for political, military or religious activities are excluded. For example nations, states, battles, places of worship, etc.

  • Names that include numbers or punctuation marks (unless culturally appropriate) are excluded. 

  • Names of organizations related to the selection are excluded.

  • Names of pet animals are excluded.

  • Acronyms are excluded. 

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The selected public names will be recognized by the IAU as the appropriate publically used names.

  • It is understood that the selected public names will not replace the scientific alphanumeric designations.

  • The proposed names will be published as such, along with due credit to those that proposed them.

  • This public name may be used internationally along with, or instead of, the scientific designation, permanently and without restrictions.