What name would you give a planet? Now you can choose it

We can name our children, our pets… and also some planets. The NameExoWorlds initiative of the International Astronomical Union is a contest in which names are compiled with which some astronomical objects and exoplanets could later be named and which could later be officially named that way.

Do you have a really original name and want to try your luck? We tell you how to do it.

What name would you give a planet

This is how NameExoWorlds works

This initiative of the International Astronomical Union has been running for several years, since 2015. Through NameExoWorlds , in that year a total of 14 stars and 31 exoplanets orbiting them were named, with


In 2019, as part of the IAU centenary celebrations, the 2019 NameExoWorlds competition offered all countries the opportunity to name a planetary system, comprising an exoplanet and its host star. As part of this contest, 112 countries organized national campaigns that involved the direct participation of more than 780,000 people around the world.

Now a new call has been opened, NameExoWorlds 2022, in which you can participate. The systems to be named by NameExoWorlds 2022 are of special interest, as they are among the first exoplanet targets of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST).

However, the steps are not easy. To participate, you have to gather a team that includes students and teachers, astronomy enthusiasts, amateur astronomers or professional astronomers, carry out an astronomical outreach event related to exoplanets.

Once the basic criteria are met, you will have to choose one of the 20 ExoWorlds from the list and propose a name for the exoplanet and its host star in your language and provide an explanation of the cultural context of the chosen name through this form .

Rules for naming planets

Of course, not everything goes in this contest and the suggested names have to abide by some rules.

“Proposed names should be of things or places of long-standing cultural, historical, or geographical importance, worthy of being assigned to a celestial object. Although not required, the names can be drawn from topics related to the sky and astronomy, or related in some way to the constellation or a cultural asterism in which the exoplanetary system is located, or related to the properties of the exoplanet and its star ».

The following types of names are prohibited:

  • Names of real people, living or dead, or things or places named in whole or in part by people.
  • Names already in use for specific celestial objects.
  • Invented names and acronyms.
  • Trademarked or copyrighted names.
  • Names related to political, military or religious themes. For example, nations, states, battles, places of worship, etc.
  • Names that include numbers or punctuation marks are excluded (unless culturally appropriate).
  • Pet animal names.
  • Acronym.