Press Release

17 Minor Planets Named by NameExoWorlds Contest Winners

By SpaceRef Editor
February 17, 2017
Filed under ,

In 2015, the IAU organised the NameExoWorlds contest, which provided the first opportunity for the public to submit names for exoplanets and their stars. As a result, the names of 19 ExoWorlds (14 stars and 31 exoplanets orbiting them) were chosen by public vote, and accepted by the IAU. These names became the official designations of the exoplanets and stars.

As a reward to the winners, they were given the exciting opportunity to name minor planets in our solar system. The IAU, via its Division F Working Group Small Bodies Nomenclature (SBN,, recently approved the new names of 17 minor planets after the winners made their proposals.

The 17 names ( are named after astronomers, educators, authors, poets, and theatrical dances, as well as the names and locations of astronomical organisations.

 “The IAU is delighted to see the involvement of amateur astronomers and of the public in the naming of newly discovered worlds, which, in many respects, puts our own little planet in perspective,” said Piero Benvenuti, IAU General Secretary.

The proposers are to each be awarded a plaque and two certificates for their ExoWorld and Minor Planet naming, commemorating their contribution to astronomy. “We are happy that the proposers are now rewarded with a ‘celestial’ prize, forever written in the sky! The success of the initiative stimulates the IAU to propose similar open competitions in the future,” Piero Benvenuti concluded.

A full list of the citation of the minor planets can be found at the IAU Minor Planet Circular:

Lars Lindberg Christensen
IAU Press Officer
Garching bei München, Germany
+49 89 3200 6761, cell: +49 173 3872 621
[email protected]

Sze-leung Cheung
IAU International Outreach Coordinator
Tokyo, Japan
+81-(0)422-34-3896, cell: +81-80-92742454
[email protected]

Gareth Williams
Associate Director, IAU Minor Planet Center
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
Cambridge, MA, USA
[email protected]

The IAU is the international astronomical organisation that brings together more than 10,000 professional astronomers from almost 100 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 recognised authority for assigning designations to celestial bodies and the surface features on them. Founded in 1919, the IAU is the world’s largest professional body for astronomers.

SpaceRef staff editor.