- Body camera shows officer boasting about arresting a 6-year-old 3 Years Ago
- Singer Duffy opens up about the rape, captivity that led her to stop singing 3 Years Ago
- Cynthia Nixon embodies feminist rage in viral video 3 Years Ago
- Samsung factory shuts down amid confirmed coronavirus case 3 Years Ago
- Bebe Rexha says she won’t be ‘imprisoned’ by bipolar disorder Today 2:33 PM
- The ‘your music saved me’ meme celebrates the wackiest influences of our time Today 2:20 PM
- This guy slapped his mom’s boobs for a TikTok and, honestly, it’s exhausting Today 12:37 PM
- Jif peanut butter and Giphy have joined forces on how to pronounce ‘GIF’ Today 12:19 PM
- This dad threw a 1-year HRT party for his trans son and the internet can’t get enough of it Today 11:44 AM
- This petition wants Pornhub to be shut down for good Today 11:03 AM
- Pete Buttigieg’s speech voice is suspiciously like Obama’s Today 10:56 AM
- Exposé about Bernie staffer’s Twitter leads to his firing—and an online class war Today 10:40 AM
- Netflix adds Top 10 feature to showcase what’s popular Today 10:24 AM
- YouTube permanently bans ‘news’ channel that said impeachment was ‘Jew coup’ Today 10:21 AM
- FIFA pro banned from all EA games following threatening rant Today 10:16 AM
Here’s how NASA could name the 7 newly discovered exoplanets
“Planet McPlanet Face” is an unlikely candidate.
The discovery of seven Earth-sized planets around the star TRAPPIST-1 unveiled by NASA on Wednesday begs a new question. Who will name the new planets?
NASA will leave the naming of the TRAPPIST-1 planets up to the International Astronomical Union, an international coalition of over 10,000 professional astronomers from over 96 countries that is headquartered in Paris.
NASA spokesperson Felicia Chou told the Daily Dot in an email on Wednesday that IAU has a formal process for naming the planets and has often taken public input in consideration.
But getting public feedback is likely to take time. IAU in 2013 took an unprecedented step of creating a process for the public to vote on the names of new planets and stars. Astronomical and non-profit organizations were invited to register and suggest names for 305 exoplanets. Voting is then opened up to the general public online. More than 500,000 voters across 182 countries voted in one NametheExoWorlds contest.
IAU just last week announced the names of 19 new “ExoWorlds” (which includes 14 stars and the 31 exoplanets surrounding them) which were decided by the winners of the 2015 NameExoWorlds contest.
IAU spokesman Lars Lindberg Christensen told the Daily Dot in an email on Thursday that while a new IAU exoplanet naming campaign is possible, none is planned for the time-being. The next steps for naming the Trappist-1 planets are not yet decided.
The internet was quick to suggest names for the new planets:
Such thorough vetting through the IAU has prevented the internet from demanding the intergalactic equivalent of “Boaty McBoatface.”
Quirkier names have floated to the surface, however. One star and its four exoplanets are named after the author and characters of Don Quixote, including Quixote’s horse, Sancho, thanks to the efforts of Spain’s Planetarium of Pamplona. Another exoworld straight out of a horror film was named by the Planetarium Südtirol Alto Adige in Italy, and includes an explanet named Poltergeist, one named “Lich” (a word for fictional, zombie-like undead creatures popular in European fantasy-role playing games), “Draugr” (which refers to undead creatures in Norse mythology), and Phobetor (the Greek god of nightmares).
Amrita Khalid is a technology and politics reporter who specializes in breaking down complex issues into practical, useful terms. A former contributor to CQ, a Congressional news and analysis site, she's currently a master's candidate in international relations at the University of Leeds.