Science-- there's something for everyone

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Name that planet

Want a chance to name an object in the solar system? If you’re a kid, you may get your chance. Between now and May 30th, Space Renaissance Education Chapter, in collaboration with Father Films, is holding a contest for kids to name minor planets in the solar system.

This kind of contest is not without precedent. In recent years, The Planetary Society has sponsored contests that resulted in names for five spacecraft and three asteroids. Most notably, eighty years ago, eleven year old Venetia Burney Phair named the newly discovered (and now demoted to ex-planet) Pluto. I’m sure I don’t have to point out that her choice reflected her interest in Greek and Roman mythology, and not a love of Disney dogs (who, by the way, did not even exist in 1930).

This contest is supported by the International Astronomical Union’s (IAU) Committee for Small Body Nomenclature. In other words, unlike when you buy someone their own star, the IAU will actually consider the winning entries when choosing names for minor planets and comets.

If you or anyone you know is interested in entering, see the rules and guidelines here:

Hat tip: Bad Astronomy