Register Now to Enter NameExoWorlds Contest

Press Release From: International Astronomical Union
Posted: Friday, October 3, 2014


IAU Invites Astronomical Organizations to Join Directory for World Astronomy 

The IAU invites all public organizations with an interest in astronomy to register on the IAU Directory for World Astronomy website for the NameExoWorlds contest, where they will in early 2015 be able to suggest names for exoplanets and their host stars. For the first time in history the public will then be able to vote for the official names of stars and planets.

The deadline for registration for the contest is 31 December 2014. Details of the registration procedure can be found on the website Eligible organizations include planetariums, science centers, amateur astronomy clubs, and online astronomy platforms, but also non-profit organizations such as high schools or cultural clubs interested in astronomy.

The updated schedule for the IAU NameExoWorlds contest is as follows:

1. A list of 305 well-characterized exoplanets, discovered prior to 31 December 2008, has been selected for naming by the IAU Exoplanets for the Public Working Group (, and the list was published in July on the website. These exoplanets belong to 260 exoplanetary systems comprising one to five planets and their host stars.

2. The IAU Directory for World Astronomy website ( is launched today, and astronomy clubs and non-profit organizations interested in naming these exoworlds are invited to register. The IAU has the capability to handle the registration of thousands of such groups.

3. In January 2015, these clubs and organizations will be asked to vote for the 20-30 exoworlds they wish to name out of the list provided by the IAU. The actual number will depend on how many groups have registered.

4. From February 2015, registered clubs and organizations will be able to send proposed names for the planets and host stars of these selected exoworlds, based on the rules in the IAU Exoplanet Naming Conventions (, together with a detailed supporting argument for their choice. Each group will be allowed to name only one exoworld. More details on this stage will be given later.

5. From April 2015, the general public will be able to vote on the proposed exoworld names. The IAU and Zooniverse ( are ready to handle a million votes or more worldwide.

6. Starting from July 2015, the IAU, via its Public Naming of Planets and Planetary Satellites Working Group, will oversee the final stages of the contest and will validate the winning names from the vote.

7. The final results of the selected names for the exoplanets and their host stars will be announced at a special public ceremony held during the IAU XXIX General Assembly in Honolulu, Hawaii, USA (, 3-14 August 2015.

In order to adapt to local requirements, the IAU is calling for volunteers worldwide to help with translation -- interested volunteers please contact us at

Registration for the NameExoWorlds contest is just one of the planned functions of the IAU Directory for World Astronomy website. The site’s scope is much wider as it will function as a platform for the global astronomical community to meet, and it will act also as an information portal for the public to learn about astronomy activities internationally and locally.

The second phase of the IAU Directory for World Astronomy will be launched later this year, and will include an event calendar, which astronomical organizations can use to publish and promote their events easily through this one-stop service for the general public.

Sze-leung Cheung
IAU International Outreach Coordinator
Tokyo, Japan
+81 (0)422-34-389, cell: +81 (0)80-9274-2454

Thierry Montmerle
IAU General Secretary / Institut d’Astrophysique de Paris
Paris, France
+33 1 43 25 83 58

Lars Lindberg Christensen
IAU Press Officer
Garching bei München, Germany
+49 89 320 06 761, cell: +49 173 38 72 621

The IAU is an international astronomical organization of more than 10,000 professional astronomers from more than 90 countries. Its mission is to promote and safeguard the science of astronomy in all its aspects through international cooperation. The IAU also serves as the internationally recognized authority for assigning designations to celestial bodies and their surface features.

IAU Directory for World Astronomy website:


IAU Exoplanets for the Public Working Group:

IAU XXIX General Assembly in Honolulu, Hawaii, USA:

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