‘Money can’t buy exoplanets’

This video is called Exoplanets: detection, atmospheres and habitability.

From the International Astronomical Union (IAU):

Can One Buy the Right to Name a Planet? – The IAU Responds to Recent Name-Selling Campaign

12 April 2013 International Astronomical Union (IAU)

In the light of recent events, where the possibility of buying the rights to name exoplanets has been advertised, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) wishes to inform the public that such schemes have no bearing on the official naming process. The IAU wholeheartedly welcomes the public’s interest to be involved in recent discoveries, but would like to strongly stress the importance of having a unified naming procedure.

More than 800 planets outside the Solar System have been found to date, with thousands more waiting to be confirmed. Detection methods in this field are steadily and quickly increasing — meaning that many more exoplanets will undoubtedly be discovered in the months and years to come.

Recently, an organisation has invited the public to purchase both nomination proposals for exoplanets, and rights to vote for the suggested names. In return, the purchaser receives a certificate commemorating the validity and credibility of the nomination. Such certificates are misleading, as these campaigns have no bearing on the official naming process — they will not lead to an officially-recognised exoplanet name, despite the price paid or the number of votes accrued.

Upon discovery, exoplanets and other astronomical objects receive unambiguous and official catalogue designations. While exoplanet names such as 16 Cygni Bb or HD 41004 Ab may seem boring when considering the names of planets in our own Solar System, the vast number of objects in our Universe — galaxies, stars, and planets to name just a few — means that a clear and systematic system for naming these objects is vital. Any naming system is a scientific issue that must also work across different languages and cultures in order to support collaborative worldwide research and avoid confusion.

To make this possible, the IAU acts as a single arbiter of the naming process, and is advised and supported by astronomers within different fields. As an international scientific organisation, it dissociates itself entirely from the commercial practice of selling names of planets, stars or or even “real estate” on other planets or moons. These practices will not be recognised by the IAU and their alternative naming schemes cannot be adopted.

However, the IAU greatly appreciates and wishes to acknowledge the increasing interest from the general public in being more closely involved in the discovery and understanding of our Universe. As a result in 2013 the IAU Commission 53 Extrasolar Planets (http://www.iau.org/science/scientific_bodies/commissions/53/) and other IAU members will be consulted on the topic of having popular names for exoplanets, and the results will be made public on the IAU website (http://www.iau.org/). Meanwhile, astronomers and the public are encouraged to keep using the existing accepted nomenclature [1] — details of which can be found on the Astronomy for the Public section of the IAU web page, under Naming Astronomical Objects (http://www.iau.org/public/naming/).

An international team of astronomers have discovered a faraway planet that orbits its star at a distance of 60 billion miles, or about 650 times the distance from the Earth to the sun. That orbital distance — far greater than any other planet seen previously — suggests that current theories about how planets form may be off-target: here.

An ‘impossible’ exoplanet has been discovered that breaks all the planet and star formation rules: here.

Exoplanets are almost old hat to astronomers, who by now have found more than 1,000 such worlds beyond the solar system. The next frontier is exomoons—moons orbiting alien planets—which are much smaller, fainter and harder to find. Now astronomers say they may have found an oddball system of a planet and a moon floating free in the galaxy rather than orbiting a star: here.

In orbit around a far-off planet, scientists just found the first exomoon—maybe: here.

6 thoughts on “‘Money can’t buy exoplanets’

  1. Instead of just naming an exoplanet, is there an organization that will just sell us planets outright the way they sold plots of land on the moon back in the 1970s? I want dibs on planet Kolob so I can rename it and keep the Mormons away. As i understand it, Kolob is at the center of the universe (whatever that means) next to God’s throne. It was discovered by Methuselah or Abraham using an Urim and Thumim.

    Why don’t modern astronomers use tried and true methods like Urims and Thumims instead of wasting everybody’s time with outmoded instruments like telescopes?


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