Star (Wars) branding

Ain,P20,28epsilon,P20Tauri,29.jpg.pagespeed.ce.e8qA1SMH5lWhen it comes to brand stars, Geogre Lukas seems to be at the zenith. But is the war really over? Not yet… The International Astronomical Union (IAU) is also picky and decided to enter the race of star branding using online democracy! That’s how Switzerland won the first star war. But let’s start from the begining.

Since 1995 and the first discovery, astronomers (not Jedi) discovered many exoplanets – so orbiting around other suns, but still in our not so far own galaxy. As we know thousands of these new worlds, some scientists felt the need to communicate about this with the general public. But let’s be frank… naming a new planet PSR1257+12 b is not very helpful when it comes to communication. So, being the only organization authorized to name objects in space, the IAU decided to name or brand its research.

As there are many exoplanets, only 31 of them where picked to be named by voters online. Propositions were sent by astronomical associations from all around the world and then submitted to the polls. The strategy seems to pay off even if Star Wars (the movie!) was going to be released in December, still many media picked up the news about these new worlds, which are really far, far away from us.

Marked in this Milky Way panorama are the 20 ExoWorlds that are available for naming proposals.

Marked in this Milky Way panorama are the 20 ExoWorlds that were available for naming proposals.

Wait, but how Switzerland won a war – even more a star war – while being neutral? Well the first exoplanet was discovered by a Swiss team and it seems that people decided to keep this fact on the sky, as the star nesting this first exoworld is now named Helvetios. The proposition came from Luzern, Switzerland, so well done!

Does it mean that the star previously named Cancri 55 and now Copernicus is a Polish national pride?!? Not exactly… The name was proposed by a Dutch association… As on the screens, the matter is not only about having the best name, but also about being well promoted.

If you still feel that there is a Jedi waiting inside you to be revealed by communication, take a deep breath and be inspired by the force:

So let the force be with you and don’t forget that if penguins can fly, you can also reach the sky!