Questions tagged [naming]

Questions regarding the process of assigning an identifying set of characters to an astronomical object.

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Who named "the 37 cluster" or at least made that name widely known via writing?

The March 29, 2024 Veritasium video Why is this number everywhere? is about an apparent prevalence of the number 37 (for at least some people, including ) and in a montage of instances of 37 it shows &...
uhoh's user avatar
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What's the official process for confirming then naming supernovae (e.g. Requiem and Encore)?

I saw this NASA Webb Telescope tweet: Supernova 2: Galactic Boogaloo In 2016, @NASAHubble saw a supernova named Requiem in a distant galaxy. Now Webb has found a second supernova named Encore — ...
uhoh's user avatar
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Planets Named After Roman Gods, Except Earth

I’ve looked this up, but not necessarily sure the internet has the right answer. Why are the planets in our solar system named after Roman gods, except Earth, and why is only one of the nine planets ...
allthings27's user avatar
0 votes
2 answers
214 views

Why do we not call black holes black stars or dark stars?

I've never understood why the term black holes are widely used to describe what is actually a black star or dark star. I mean why name something just because of its extreme space curvature effects? In ...
eBookworm's user avatar
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How did ancient people call this still a twin?

In the more modern images of the constellation Gemini it more looks like a twin: But in the old images when ancient people mentioned it, it doesn't look like a twin at all. But it was still called ...
Snack Exchange's user avatar
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3k views

Why are sometimes the brightest star of a constellation not named alpha?

From the Wikipedia page of Alpha Ursae Majoris: Alpha Ursae Majoris, Latinised from α Ursae Majoris, formally named Dubhe /ˈdʌbiː/, is, despite being designated "α" (alpha), the second-...
Snack Exchange's user avatar
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216 views

What exactly is an aerolite?

I have found definitions calling it a stony metiorite, calling it a meteor of silicate, a granite meteorite, or even calling it a metallic rock from space and more. What is the actual definition?
Starship - On Strike's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
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Does syzygy mean only three aligned bodies, or at least three aligned bodies?

In the precise and rigorous astronomical use of the word, does the term "syzygy" refer to an astronomical alignment of three and only three bodies? Or, can syzygy mean an alignment of three, ...
Plane Wryter's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
109 views

How (the heck) does an astronomical Celescope work? And how did it get its name?

Here's an exceprt from the recent question The claim may refer to the band labeled U4 in the Celescope Catalog of Ultraviolet Stellar Observations, which refers to a filter with a spectral response ...
uhoh's user avatar
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Mars crater nomenclature

The Wikipedia page for planetary nomenclature states that small craters don't follow the same rule as large craters as far . What is the cutoff between small and large craters (as far as naming is ...
usernumber's user avatar
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What is the brightest nameless star?

Bright stars in the night sky traditionally have their own proper names, like "Sirus" or "Canopus". Most stars don't have names, but instead catalogue identifiers, like the Bayer ...
SE - stop firing the good guys's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
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Is "Pillars of Creation" is the name of the photograph or the name of the thing being photographed?

I'd like to resolve this naming technicality by locating an official naming authority, if one exists. As far as I can tell, "Pillars of Creation" was the name given to the photograph that ...
Wyck's user avatar
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1 answer
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Did the temporary asteroid name DA₄₂ arise naturally and fortuitously (as a precursor to a Douglas Adams namesake)? Or did someone help it along?

42 (Number) just might be the longest Wikipedia page for a single number integer. In the Astronomy subsection of that article it says: In January 2004, asteroid 2001 DA42 was given the permanent name ...
uhoh's user avatar
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HD numbers according to the positions

Which database matches HD numbers (or other names) with positions of stars? I would like to insert the list of positions. Gaia does not provide that, right? Thank you I tried SIMBAD and obtained
Elena Greg's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
178 views

Why is it called "The LOFAR 'superterp'"? What is a terp, and what's so super about this one?

Wikipedia's Low-Frequency Array (LOFAR) includes the image below with the caption: The LOFAR core ("superterp") near Exloo, Netherlands. The bridges give an idea of the scale. Question: ...
uhoh's user avatar
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2 votes
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What does "TON" in TON 618 stand for?

I don't think TON 618 is a random name, but rather a composition of category name and a number. But when I tried to google it, any article about TON 618 did not contain anything about its name origin ...
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Who gave the Pelican Nebula its name?

IC 5070 is a nebula in Cygnus that is also sometimes called the Pelican Nebula. Who gave it this name?
usernumber's user avatar
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4 votes
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Who named Gomez's Hamburger as "Gomez's Hamburger"? (IRAS 18059-3211)

Science Alert's Make Your Day Better With These 8 Cool Space Things That Have Totally Ridiculous Names says: Whoever named Gomez's Hamburger sure must have been hungry, because it doesn't really look ...
uhoh's user avatar
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Any stellar entity named A1?

Is there a spatial entity (moon, planet, star, system, galaxy, cluster,..) that is identified with "A1" (or A{first_term})?
user406126's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
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If a black hole is spinning, does its singularity have a new name and what is the name? [duplicate]

Think of a spinning black hole. (Kerr black hole) Every black hole has a point of infinite density, called a singularity. When a singularity is spinning, does it have a different name? But when a ...
hotgot100's user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
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When will 2002 MS4 be named?

The trans-Neptunian planetoid 2002 MS4 is currently the largest known unnamed Sun-orbiting object. Is there any standard schedule on when this and similar objects might be named? Usually the ...
John's user avatar
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Are sunspots named or individually tracked?

This is a follow-up question to How are the solar flares from May 23, 2021 extraordinary? which is about news of spaceweather.org. In the present question, I am curious solely about sun-spots and why ...
B--rian's user avatar
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What’s an Earth-Sun-Moon eclipse called?

I understand we would all die and this is a common “think about your question before you ask it” thing in high school, but what would we call an eclipse where the Sun gets in between Earth and the ...
MSGhero's user avatar
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7 votes
1 answer
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Why was Neptune rather than Uranus chosen as an archetype?

The largest exoplanets are typically called Jupiter-like planets, or hot/cold Jupiters. Since Jupiter is the largest most massive planet in our Solar system, it makes sense that it would be chosen as ...
usernumber's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
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The star that died and became the Crab Nebula and Crab Pulsar?

The supernova of this star was witnessed about 1 thousand years ago, and the star's remains are the Crab Nebula and Crab Pulsar. What is this no longer existent star called? How massive was this star? ...
user38101's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
137 views

What is the naming convention for craters on Mercury?

The two largest craters on Mercury are names Caloris (meaning "hot") and Rembrandt (for the painter). So there doesn't seem to be a pattern. By convention, craters on Mars are named for ...
usernumber's user avatar
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1 vote
2 answers
268 views

Naming convention for multiple star systems

Okay, so I've seen different notations for the stars in β Capricorni. Some sources state that the stars are Aa, Ab1 and Ab2, Ba, and Bb, while others say that they are Aa, Aba and Abb, Ba, and Bb. So, ...
WarpPrime's user avatar
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1 vote
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What is the naming convention for temporary moons?

Is there a naming convention for temporary moons? Or do they follow the naming conventions of other small bodies? In the case of 2006 RH$_{120}$, 2015 HP$_{116}$, 2020 CD$_3$ and 2020 SO, the first ...
usernumber's user avatar
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Why do some pulsar planets have designations with a capital letter at the end?

The pulsar PSR B1257+12 has three planets. Most triple-planet system have designation foo b, foo c, and foo d. However, I noticed that the three planets of this pulsar (PSR B1257+12) have a ...
WarpPrime's user avatar
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5 votes
1 answer
648 views

Why were the Magellanic Clouds named that way?

From the Wikipedia article, the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds were observed prior to Magellan's expedition, and the name only stuck long after Magellan's expedition (at first, they were called ...
usernumber's user avatar
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15 votes
1 answer
2k views

Is there a name for a planet and its moons/satellites?

I'm wondering if there's a name that encapsulates the concept of a planet and the objects that orbit in its gravity. There's a solar system that encapsulates a star and its multiple planets and other ...
Edward Loveall's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
696 views

Why are Uranus' satellites named after characters in Shakespeare?

Oberon, Titania, Ophelia, Puck, Miranda... Uranus' satellites are named for characters in the works of Shakespeare and Pope. Yet the names of Jupiter and Saturn's moon come from the Roman and Greek ...
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3 votes
1 answer
204 views

What name was voted for Tau Boötis b by the Name Exoworlds Project?

In 2015, the exoplanet Tau Boötis b was included in the Name Exoworlds Project, a project where various international astronomy organizations would propose names for a selection of known exoplanets ...
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3 votes
1 answer
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Why is there no Proxima 'a' planet? I'm confused about the naming convention [duplicate]

Why is there no exoplanet around Proxima Centauri designated with the letter 'a'? There is, famously, a 'b' and now a newly confirmed 'c'.... I have read that exoplanets around a star are designated ...
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2 votes
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Why was the diaeresis removed from Pasiphae?

The Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature notes that the spelling of Jupiter's moon Pasiphae was changed from Pasiphaë in July 2009, i.e. they removed the diaeresis. I've been unable to track down the ...
user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
2k views

Why were two galaxies named "The Sagittarius Galaxy"? Is this common?

Phys.org's says: The formation of the Sun, the Solar System and the subsequent emergence of life on Earth may be a consequence of a collision between our galaxy, the Milky Way, and a smaller ...
uhoh's user avatar
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4 votes
1 answer
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Astronomical Term *Mezzocielo*

What is the name of the point of intersection of the great circle passing through the celestial north pole P and the Zenith Z, with the celestial equator? (Point T in the figure) In Italian this point ...
JustThinking's user avatar
6 votes
2 answers
440 views

Does IC 1101 have any name?

IC 1101 is the single largest galaxy that has ever been found in the observable universe, but does IC 1101 have any other name or at least a nick-name, perhaps something more soothing to the ear and ...
THE_BLESSED_MEDIUM's user avatar
0 votes
0 answers
53 views

Who first named the planets Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn? [duplicate]

Who first named the planets Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn? Agnes Clerke's Catholic Encyclopedia article "Astronomy in the Bible" § Planets claims that "Venus and Saturn are the only ...
Geremia's user avatar
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2 votes
2 answers
267 views

What is the LSST now? Where does LSST end and Vera C. Rubin Observatory begin?

Space.com's It's Official: Vera Rubin Observatory Named to Honor Dark Matter Scientist says: "We're here today to focus on the major renaming of the facility after a pioneering astronomer, that ...
uhoh's user avatar
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3 votes
2 answers
582 views

Ross 128 (What does the number mean?)

I see that there are a number of stars that have a number at the end of them. Ross 128 is an example. What does this number mean?
mj_'s user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
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How official is TNO 486958, 2014 MU69's new name Arrokoth?

The Trans-Neptunian object 486958 or 2014 MU69 has had several designations and nicknames. According to Phys.org's NASA renames faraway ice world 'Arrokoth' after backlash Ultima Thule, the ...
uhoh's user avatar
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5 votes
1 answer
2k views

Is there a database of all known star names/identifiers?

I am looking for a list of all known identifiers used for stars. I'm not sure on the terminology. While I do want the "proper names", I also want whatever identifier is used for each star detected, ...
Livid's user avatar
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0 votes
1 answer
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Does Mars' "Northern ocean" have another name? What about the "Inland Sea"?

The March 15, 2019 Phys.org article A NASA spacecraft may have explored the edges of an early Mars sea in 1997 shows a stylized map of an area on Mars where the Mars Pathfinder landed and uses colors ...
uhoh's user avatar
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3 votes
3 answers
601 views

How many asteroids are named after musicians? Is there a searchable list for this?

Spot checking Wikipedia, Google and JPL's Horizions I found several musicians right away, including Lou Reed, Elvis, Freddy Mercury, and David Bowie. Is there a way to find all of the asteroids that ...
uhoh's user avatar
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4 votes
1 answer
338 views

How did Biden become VP? (naming of 2012 VP113)

The Carnegie Science article Solar System's Edge Redefined describes the discovery of the object 2012 VP113. Wikipedia's article 2012 VP113 says: Nickname: 2012 VP113 was abbreviated "VP" ...
uhoh's user avatar
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1 answer
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Why was Uranus named what it was? [duplicate]

Why was Uranus named what it was, and who came up with the name?
Pika Supports Ukraine's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
116 views

What is the official classification and naming system of objects in the universe(, or what would my URI look like)?

Poetic human centric approach: Universe/Laniakea/Virgo/MilkyWay/Sol/Earth/Humans/AndreasT Little bit more technical: ...
AndreasT's user avatar
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2 votes
2 answers
161 views

What does the word "compact" mean in astronomy/astrophysics?

I have seen countless times the adjective "compact" in astronomy, e.g. compact stars, compact binaries, etc. I would like to know, what exactly is this supposed to mean? From this source, I am led to ...
Arturo don Juan's user avatar
10 votes
1 answer
452 views

What do the acronyms in "AT 2017 gfo" mean?

About 11 hours after the detection of GW170817 by Ligo/Virgo and the quickly succeeding detected GRB170817, a transient afterglow in the optical-nIR frequency appeared which showed many signs of r-...
Arturo don Juan's user avatar