While in the previous edition of 2015 the naming selection process was conducted exclusively by the IAU, this NameExoWorlds project gives each country more autonomy and involvement in the naming process. A system composed of a star and its orbiting planet is assigned to each country, which may run its own national naming contest, giving every citizen the chance to participate.
The Office for Astronomy Outreach (IAU-OAO) invites every National Outreach Coordinator (IAU-NOCs) and countries without a NOC to compose a National Committee in their country, which will be the body responsible for holding the contest at a national level.
The process is as follows:
- Each National Committee will develop its own contest, including a promotion method.
- Each National Committee will develop a way to solicit naming suggestions from the public.
- The National Committee decides on a down-select leading to a few selected proposals of names of a) the exoplanet and b) the host star that can then be voted on by the public. The National Committees shall give evidence that a free and transparent voting process was used.
- After voting, the highest ranked name of the country’s exoplanet and star (+ two backup names for each) will be submitted to the IAU NameExoWorlds Steering Group for validation. The choice of the primary name should be motivated by a short explanation. The collections of exoplanets names accompanied by their motivation will be published in a special IAU Volume.
- If the IAU NameExoWorlds Steering Group finds that the naming rules are followed, the two names will be recognized as the official names of the respective “exoworlds”.
The campaign starts in June 2019 and the chosen names will be announced in December 2019.
More information about the rules for naming the “exoworlds” and the systems assigned to each country can be found here. You can find the schedule for submitting proposals and voting in your country in the Get involved section. We hope you join in with this worldwide effort to name “exoworlds”!