Here’s your chance to name a planet
Move over Jupiter, Mercury, Saturn and Venus.
The next named planets could include Paramour, Trivia, Poltergeist and even Jane if the world’s space enthusiasts have any say — and this time around, they actually do.
The International Astronomical Union is offering the public a chance to choose names for 20 distant planetary systems that include 15 stars and 32 exoplanets.
Planets and stars generally have been named by the people who discover them and the IAU, so this is a rare opportunity for amateur astronomers.
Astronomy clubs and other interested parties from 45 countries submitted more than 200 names to the IAU, which has reduced those names to a shortlist.
Voting on that list began Tuesday at the Name ExoWorlds website.
The name voting ends October 31.
The search for other planets and solar systems — especially those that might harbor life — is an intense one for the world’s astronomers.
In July, NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope confirmed the discovery of the closest rocky planet outside the Milky Way. Scientists also are excited about a solar system about 200 light-years from Earth near star HIP 11915 that contains a large gaseous planet not unlike Jupiter.