South Africa votes on new planet name

Date:11 November 2019 Author: Leila Stein Tags:,

South Africans have been given the opportunity to vote on the name for an exoplanet, which was discovered by SuperWASP. The telescope is situated near Sutherland in the Nothern Cape, and was used to spot the planet in 2012.

The International Astronomical Union (IAU) has asked South Africans to name the planet WASP-62b and its host star WASP-62.

The planet is 1.3 times the size of Jupiter. This means you could fit roughly 1,000 Earths in it. “The distance between star and planet is only 1/17-th of that between the Earth and our Sun. Therefore WASP-62 b is too hot for liquid water to exist, and one has to assume there can be no life on it,” said the IAU website.

The four pairs of names that citizens can vote on were specifically chosen by a panel of judges for their meanings. For example, Roggeveld is a mountain range near where the WASP-62 System was discovered and Gannaga is one of the passes crossing the mountain range and reflects how the identification of  WASP-62b was obtained by the planet’s path crossing the star.

The names to choose from are:

  1. Krotoa (planet) and Naledi (star)
  2. Sceletium (planet) and Buchu (star)
  3. Ingoma (planet) and Ubunye (star)
  4. Gannaga (planet) and Roggeveld (star)

Cast your vote here before the 14 November 2019.

Image: International Astronomical Union (IAU)

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