Exoplanets now have catchier names


My Very Educated Mother Just Showed Us Nine Planets

This mnemonic device, or a variation of it, was taught to us back in grade school to help us remember the planets in order. Back then, if anyone were to ask me just how many planets there are out in space, I would have proudly answered “Nine!”Back when Pluto was still a planet.

Back when Pluto was still a planet.

To this day, excluding the 8 planets in our own solar system, over 2,000 planets have been discovered in outer space. These planets are called “Exoplanets.” Every one of these exoplanets is unique and no two planets are exactly alike. These planets are so incredibly interesting and amazing, and I highly encourage everyone to Google “Exoplanets” as soon as you are done reading this. But for now, I want to talk about their names.

While the names of the planets in our solar system may be easy to remember (especially for some reason Uranus?), most of the exoplanets have slightly more difficult names, such as HD 4203 b, Kepler-431 c, and KIC 6185331 b.


Last month, the International Astronomical Union held a contest to come up with catchy names for 31 of these exoplanets. The winning names for these planets have just been released.

Here are a few of the winning names:

The exoplanet “42 Draconis b” was renamed, “Orbitar,” by the United States.

The exoplanet “HD 81688 b” was renamed, “Arkas,” by Japan.

The exoplanet “14 Andromedae b” was renamed, “Spe,” by Canada (that’s a good name “eh?”)

The exoplanet “mu Arae e” was renamed, “Sancho,” by Mexico.

And my personal favorite, the Exoplanet “PSR 1257+12 c” was renamed, “Poltergeist,” by Italy. What a creepy and cool name for a planet!


You can check out the full list by clicking here.

If you could name your own planet, what would you call it? Leave a comment below!

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