Turkey gets naming rights to far-flung star, planet

Turkey gets naming rights to far-flung star, planet

KAYSERI-Anadolu Agency
Turkey gets naming rights to far-flung star, planet

Turkey is among nearly 100 countries set to name a far-flung alien planet and its star, a Turkish astronomer told Anadolu Agency on June 11.

Under a campaign by the International Astronomical Union (IAU), Turkey has the naming rights to the star currently known as WASP-52 as well as its exoplanet, as sighted by powerful space telescopes, said İbrahim Küçük of Erciyes University in Kayseri, also head of the Turkish Astronomical Society.

For its 100th anniversary commemorations, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) is organizing the NameExoWorlds global campaign to allow “any country in the world to give a popular name to a selected exoplanet and its host star,” according to the group's website.

The Turkish Astronomical Society serves as the local representative of the international group, said Küçük.

Countries are given the naming rights to stars easily observable from the capital city -- in this case, Ankara -- even through small telescopes, he added.

WASP-52 “is around 457 light years from us. Its planet isn't a livable planet, it's a gas giant just like Jupiter,” he explained.

“The important thing is that we got its naming rights.”

Küçük said suggested names for the star-planet duo can be submitted through the Turkish group's website -- tad.org.tr -- and that they want schools and science centers to play a large role in the process.

“We have a jury made up of various universities. The jury will select two candidate names and submit them to the society,” he said, adding that political or insulting names will not be considered.

December is the deadline for submitting the name to the International Astronomical Union, he said.

In addition to naming stars, he added, Turkey also wants to make satellites and go on to explore new stars and galaxies.