You Can Now Name One Of The Planets Captured By The James Webb Space Telescope

The James Webb Space Telescope has imaged a wide variety of cosmic objects, from distant galaxies to nebulae. 

The public will be able to choose the name of up to 20 exoplanets observed by the James Webb. Photo: Wikimedia Commons/reference

But the advanced observatory is just beginning its mission and is now focusing on exoplanets (planets orbiting other stars).With the aim of spreading the scientific community's enthusiasm for this new era of cosmic exploration to the public, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) has launched the NameExoWorlds 2022 contest, which offers the opportunity to name the first exoplanets and their respective host stars observed by the James Webb.

Which planets will receive a new name?

According to the entity's statement, there are 20 exoplanets available to be named by the public. Included in this list is WASP-96b, where the James Webb has already targeted and revealed its first scientific findings from it.

All these worlds have already been discovered previously "through a combination of techniques, mainly through the method of transit and direct images", indicates the IAU. However, it has only been possible to know its characteristics in broad strokes.

With the advanced space telescope, it is hoped to unravel the secrets of the atmosphere and possibly the surface of those distant worlds. Something that no observatory of NASA , ESA or any other space agency has achieved.

How can one of the planets be named?

The IAU asks that the public be formed into teams, which should preferably be made up of amateurs, students, teachers and astronomers to jointly decide on the name of a planet and its host star.

The proposed names "must be of things, people or places of long-standing cultural, historical or geographical importance , worthy of being assigned to a celestial object," highlights the organization.

In this sense, IAU warns that proposals for common names, such as that of a relative or a pet, will not be accepted.

Likewise, through a written message in English and a video in your native language, you must support the reasons for your proposal.

Another requirement is that the teams develop an outreach event, either online or in person, related to exoplanets. For example, they could inform the public about these celestial bodies and their importance.

All these steps are detailed in a form that must be filled out.(Link at the end of the article).

Selection of the winners

Teams can start submitting their proposals now through November 11. First, a national selection panel led by the National Outreach Coordinators will choose one candidate from their country and two supporting proposals.

Second, a final selection committee, made up of the Exoplanet Systems Nomenclature Working Group and exoplanet discoverers, will review the proposals chosen by each country and finally announce the final list of winners.

Reference(s): NameExoWorlds2022, Fill Out This Form

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