If you follow our science coverage, you know that stars and exoplanets discovered in the heavens tend to get stuck with boring and very clinical names. The names for exoplanets are typically along the lines of HD 85512b and Gliese 667Cc. A company called Uwingu has announced its first product that is trying to raise money for space research, exploration, and education.
That first product is a sort of baby planet name book. The idea is that for $.99 anyone can nominate any name they like to join the new planet name registry. People can also vote for their favorite names on the current list. The company wants to be clear in saying that any names nominated or paid for won’t be official and won’t be attached to any specific planet at this time.
Currently, the only body authorized to officially name celestial objects is the International Astronomical Union, and it has not expressed interest in changing the current naming convention. However, Uwingu hopes that astronomers might use the names the project suggests to unofficially refer to planets they discover.
Right now, there is a list of approximately 800 confirmed planets that need good names. The company plans to use the money raised when names are added to the list to support space research efforts such as SETI. The company also plans to release planet-related educational materials for teachers.
[via Fox News]