Questions tagged [naming]

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

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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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? ...
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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 ...
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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, ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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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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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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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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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?
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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 ...
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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, ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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" ...
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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?
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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: ...
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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 ...
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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-...
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How to name planets outside our galaxy?

Recently, planets outside our galaxy have been discovered. How would be the convention to naming these planets? As far as I know, it seems that there is no standard for naming exoplanets even in our ...
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Why nobody cares to give the nearest stars better names?

The star occupying 6th place on Wikipedia's list of nearest stars and brown dwarfs can be called either Lalande 21185, BD+36 2147, Gliese 411 or HD 95735. That seems to me like a fine, quadruple ...
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Why is Sagittarius A* called so?

At the center of the Milky Way, we have a supermassive black hole. It's name is "Sagittarius A*". I was wondering that why is it called so? I mean, why "A*" why not just "A". Is there a naming system ...
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Whats the name of this eye-shaped galaxy?

I would like to know the name of this eye-shaped galaxy: Strange eye-shaped galaxy has black-hole iris, Betsy Mason, 23.07.2009, Wired.com:
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What's the name of outside the cosmic horizon?

The word we use to refer to what's inside the cosmic horizon is the 'universe', so what would you call the empty space outside of the horizon?
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Why does exoplanets' naming start from “b” and not from “a”? [duplicate]

An exoplanet named after its host star receives the suffix letter "b" if it was the first planet discovered to orbit that star, or "c" if it was the second, or "d" if it was the third, and so on. Why ...
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Is there a relation with the noun planet and to be in a plane?

This morning I was in the shower and it struck me that the word planet might be related to the fact that the PLANEts orbit the sun in a PLANE. Did this naming somewhat happen by accident or was it ...
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Is there a timeline for the naming of the TRAPPIST-1 worlds?

For the moment, the TRAPPIST-1 worlds are just known by their official designations, like "TRAPPIST-1a" etc. NASA made a casual tweet asking people what they would name the worlds, and there has been ...
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Where did TRAPPIST-1a go?

According to the NASA announcement and the Wikipedia article on TRAPPIST-1, the planets around the TRAPPIST-1 star are named TRAPPIST-1 b through h. What happened to "TRAPPIST-1 a"?
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Is having a surname which begins with the letter “A” a big advantage for a researcher in astronomy/astrophysics? Is changing our surname a good idea?

Is having a surname which begins with the letter “A” a big advantage for a researcher in astronomy/astrophysics? If I have a surname which begins with the letter “M”, and I haven’t published any ...
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Stellar Mapping and Coordinates [closed]

Why are the Galactic Coordinates not aligned so that the Axes go through the Long Bar Y-axis aligned to it's longer side, positive with Sol, and the X-axis align to the center of the short length with ...
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Who gets to name Planet Nine if it is confirmed?

According to Wikipedia, "On 20 January 2016, researchers Konstantin Batygin and Michael E. Brown at Caltech announced calculation-based evidence of a massive ninth planet in the Solar System." If ...
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How do scientists name space objects?

I am curious that there are lots of celestial objects (planets, comets, stars, galaxies, etc.) in space. How do we name them?
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Which stars have been named after astronomers?

Most apparent stars have ancient names. But some of the newer (since 200 or so years) discoveries have been given the name of some prominent astronomer. Kapteyn's star is one example, and there are ...
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What is the name of our Solar System?

what is our Solar System called rather than "the Solar System"? I've found "Sol System" and "Monmatia", too, but is there more to it?
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Why was this asteroid (4864 Nimoy) chosen to be named after Leonard Nimoy?

The asteroid 4864 Nimoy was recently named after Leonard Nimoy. It was discovered on September 2, 1988 so it went nearly 27 years without a name. Why was this asteroid chosen to be named after him? ...
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Why are a few things in our universe named after chocolate? [closed]

Like the title says, why are a few things in our universe named after chocolate? For example, there are the Milky Way, galaxy and Mars. Is there a reason for this or not? Or is it that the ...
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Why stars are named Gliese?

There are exoplanets called Gliese 581c, Gliese 581d etc. I assume their star is Gliese 581. So where does this Gliese come from?
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What does designation VY, NML, UU in star names stand for?

I've read the a IAU page on the subject but i am no closer to understanding how this works. Also did search the already asked question, but didn't see anything on the subject. What does bolded item ...
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How were the designations of “North” and “South” applied to the hemispheres of Mars?

How was it decided which hemisphere was North and which hemisphere was South on Mars? Clearly, the designations "North" and "South" apply only to the hemispheres which contain the axis of rotation at ...