This is exciting! The International Astronomical Union (IAU) is working Zooniverse, astronomical clubs and the public at large to name some number of exoworlds and host stars. Some of the work has already been done, some work is yet to do. The exciting part is that Planet Hunters will be assisting in some of the next steps! Let’s break down their milestones:
July 2014: IAU compiled a list of 305 exoworlds confirmed prior to December 31, 2008 as candidates for naming.
October 2014: The IAU opened http://www.nameexoworlds.org to permit astronomy organizations to register to take part. Planet Hunters completed this and was confirmed!
January 2015: Planet Hunters, along with other clubs, will vote for the ExoWorlds they wish to name out of the list provided by the IAU.
February 2015: Planet Hunters, along with other clubs, will send in proposals for the names of members of these selected ExoWorlds (including the host star), based on the rules in the IAU Exoplanet Naming Theme, together with a detailed supporting argument for their choice. Each group is allowed to name only one ExoWorld. More details on this stage will be given later.
June 2015: the general public votes to rank the proposed names.
July 2015: the IAU, via its Executive Committee Working Group on the Public Naming of Planets and Planetary Satellites, oversees the final stages of the contest, and validates the winning names from the vote.
3–14 August 2015: the results are announced at a special public ceremony held during the IAU XXIX General Assembly in Honolulu, USA
We are in the January 2015 milestone. You may have noticed that there is a new “Vote” button on the Planet Hunters classification ribbon. This button takes you to a poll which has been set up to collect Planet Hunter community input. We want your participation! So let’s name an ExoWorld!!!