SkyEye

IAU Star and Exoplanet Names

An extrasolar planet or exoplanet is simply a planet that orbits a star other than the Sun. Long the stuff of science fiction, advances in telescopic technology and imagery, both ground-based and space-based, has led to the discovery of several thousand potential exoplanets since 1988, many of which have been confirmed. Both the CoRoT and Kepler spacecraft, dedicated to finding exoplanets, have been very successful.

In 2014, the IAU published a list of well-studied exoplanets, inviting the public to submit names for them. Over half a million votes were received from people around the world. The winners are listed below. In some of the planetary systems, the star already had an approved name but in others, the star as well as its planets were named.

Star NameCatalogue DesignationPlanet NameMeaning
Ain ε Tau the bull's eye [Arabic]
ε Tau b Amateru name for shrines of the Shinto goddess of the Sun, Amaterasu, who was born from the left eye of the god Izanagi [Japanese]
Cervantes μ Ara the Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
μ Ara b Quijote fictional character from Cervantes' El Ingenioso Hidalgo Don Quixote de la Mancha
μ Ara c Dulcinea fictional character from Cervantes' El Ingenioso Hidalgo Don Quixote de la Mancha
μ Ara d Rocinante fictional character from Cervantes' El Ingenioso Hidalgo Don Quixote de la Mancha
μ Ara e Sancho fictional character from Cervantes' El Ingenioso Hidalgo Don Quixote de la Mancha
Chalawan 47 UMa the mythological crocodile king from Thai folklore
47 UMa b Taphao Thong one of two sisters associated with the Thai folktale of Chalawan
47 UMa c Taphao Kaew one of two sisters associated with the Thai folktale of Chalawan
Copernicus 55 Cnc the Polish astronomer Nicolas Copernicus (Mikolaj Kopernik)
55 Cnc b Galileo the Italian astronomer and physicist Galileo Galilei
55 Cnc c Brahe the Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe
55 Cnc d Lipperhey the German-Dutch lens grinder and spectacle maker often attributed with the invention of the refracting telescope
55 Cnc e Janssen the Dutch spectacle maker often attributed with the invention of the microscope
55 Cnc f Harriot the English astronomy and mathematician attributed with making the first drawing of the Moon through telescopic observations
Edasich ι Dra the male hyena [Arabic]
ι Dra b Hypatia the Greek astronomer, mathematician and philosopher, murdered in 415
Errai γ Cep the shepherd [Arabic]
γ Cep b Tadmor ancient Semitic and mordern Arabic name for the city of Palmyra
Fafnir 42 Dra the Norse mythological dwarf who turned into a dragon
42 Dra b Orbitar contrived word honouring space launch and orbital operations of NASA
Fomalhaut α PsA the mouth of the southern fish [Arabic]
α PsA b Dagon Semitic half-man, half-fish deity
Helvetios 51 Peg the Celtic tribe that lived in Switzerland during the Middle Ages [Latin]
51 Peg b Dimidium half (the mass of Jupiter) [Latin]
Intercrus HD 81688 between the legs [Latin]
HD 81688 b Arkas the son of Callisto (Ursa Major) [Greek]
Libertas ξ Aql liberty [Latin]
ξ Aql b Fortitudo fortitude [Latin]
Lich PSR B1257+12 the undead creature which controls other undead creatures through magic [Middle English]
PSR B1257+12 b Draugr an undead creature in Norse mythology
PSR B1257+12 c Poltergeist a supernatural being that creates physical disturbances [German]
PSR B1257+12 d Phobetor the Greek deity of nightmares and son of Nyx
Musica 18 Del music [Latin]
18 Del b Arion a performer of poetry and music in ancient Greece
Ogma HD 149026 the Celtic diety of eloquence, writing and physical strength
HD 149026 b Smertrios the Gallic diety of war
Pollux β Gem the name of a character in Greek mythology
β Gem b Thestias the patronym of Leda (mother of Pollux and Castor) and her sister Althaea [Greek]
Ran ε Eri the Norse goddess of the sea
ε Eri b AEgir Ran's husband, the Norse god of the ocean
Titawin υ And a settlement in northern Morocco
υ And b Saffar named for Abu al-Qasim Ahmed Ibn-Abd Allah Ibn-Omar al Ghafiqi Ibn-al-Saffar, teacher of arithmetic, geometry and astronomy in eleventh century Andalusia
υ And c Samh named for Abu al-Qazim 'Asbagh ibn Muhammad ibn al-Samh al-Mahri, eleventh century astronomer and mathematician in Andalusia
υ And d Majriti named for Abu al-Qasim al-Qurtubi al-Majriti, notable mathematician, astronomer and teacher in tenth and eleventh century Andalusia
Tonatiuh HD 104985 the Aztec god of the Sun
HD 104985  Maztli the Aztec goddess of the Moon
Veritate 14 And truth [Latin]
14 And b Spe hope [Latin]