Naming Exoplanets.

22/12/19

A wonderful initiative by the IAU recently called nameexoworlds, facilitated the naming of exoplanets and their stars by various countries across the globe. A great way to promote and spread the knowledge of our discoveries to date and the vastness of what is yet to be discovered.

Always a subject to raise the hairs on the back of my neck. Exoplanets always seem to me like the unexplored far away lands lands and oceans of our ancestors, if the imagination is set free endless possibilities are born. From our earliest ancestors leaving the African continent to the Pacific Islanders who took thousands of years to inhabit the vast ocean, the great sea voyages by European Empires in what must have seemed like one exotic discovery after another. People like Shackleton, Crean and Scott exploring the great Antarctic to humanity’s first flights into space and humans setting foot on the moon. The very desire to explore is the essence of our species, inventing new ways to discover has been one of the drivers of our survival.

Discover the work undertaken by the IAU and see what contribution was made by your country here: http://www.nameexoworlds.iau.org/final-results. You can download a pdf or excel file of the catalogue.

See below an image of the star system HAT-P-36 with it’s one known orbiting planet HAT-P-36 -b. The system lies within the constellation Canes Venatici (hunting dogs) and is approx. 6.6bn years old. The star itself is 1.10 times the radius of our sun. The star and the planet were named Tuiren and Bran respectively from the Irish mythological story about Tuiren who was the aunt of a hunter-warrior named Fionn Mac Cumhaill. She was turned into a hound by the jealous fairy Uchtdealbh. Later, Tuiren had a son called Bran.

Learn more about exoplanets by visiting the NASA exoplanet website here: https://exoplanets.nasa.gov

If you’re interested in learning about Tuiren and Bran, try here: http://www.luminarium.org/mythology/ireland/birthofbran.htm

Featured image (header) is under a Creative Chttps://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:An_exoplanet_seen_from_its_moon_(artist%27s_impression).jpg

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