DEC 09, 2016 8:56 AM PST

227 Stars Have Been Given Brand New Names

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

There are a ton of stars in the universe, so many in fact that we can’t really count them all, but the ones we are able to actually see and study come from that of our own Milky Way galaxy. They’re close enough that we can observe them through the most powerful of telescopes.
 

There are so many stars out there that we have to start naming them appropriately.

 Image Credit: IAU/NASA

Of course, the list of known stars continues to expand every single day, as astronomers turn the dials on their telescopes and focus on uncharted areas in the skies. Unfortunately, as we discover more of them, it becomes difficult to keep track of all of them and their names, especially when they get named in weird ways.
 
To help fix the problem, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) has approved official new names for 227 stars known to exist. The first of the 227 stars to be renamed have already been published in the IAU’s catalog online, but more are expected to come as time goes on.
 
“Since the IAU is already adopting names for exoplanets and their host stars, it has been seen as necessary to catalogue the names for stars in common use from the past, and to clarify which ones will be official from now on,” says Eric Mamajek, chair and organizer of the WGSN.
 
Included on the new list is the well-known star system Alpha Centauri, which has been renamed something more formal: Rigil Kentaurus. The move is one to help reduce confusion between systems with similar names, including the nearby Proxima Centauri, which will reportedly be keeping its current name.
 
For the most part, the IAU seems to favor one-word names, as they’re the easiest to remember and catch on to, but in some cases, names with astronomical historical importance may also be approved.
 
For some, this new set of names may cause more confusion than it hopes to end. This is because we’ve referred to specific star systems by certain names for years, even decades, and now astronomers that have studied them for so long will have to call them something different. In addition to that, new scholars may begin referring to systems by the new name and have no idea what someone means when they bring up the old name.
 
It should be interesting to see what else gets approved as star names in the future from the IAU.
 
Source: International Astronomical Union via Space.com

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
MAY 02, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Average Day on Venus Lasts 243 Earth Days
MAY 02, 2021
Average Day on Venus Lasts 243 Earth Days
Although Venus is our planet’s closest neighbour, its fundamental properties have remained largely unknown. Now th ...
JUN 01, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Curiosity Captures Shimmering Martian Clouds
JUN 01, 2021
Curiosity Captures Shimmering Martian Clouds
Mars has a thin atmosphere without much humidity, making cloudy days rare. But clouds can be found sometimes near the Ma ...
JUN 30, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Boom! It's Asteroid Day
JUN 30, 2021
Boom! It's Asteroid Day
In this NASA image from Bill Ingalls, a meteor can be seen in the sky, one far less destructive than the asteroid that c ...
JUL 03, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Size of Planet Iron Core Depends on Star Magnetism
JUL 03, 2021
Size of Planet Iron Core Depends on Star Magnetism
Researchers led by the University of Maryland have found that the sun's magnetic field is the reason behind the larg ...
AUG 19, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Researchers Observe the Birth of New Solar Systems
AUG 19, 2021
Researchers Observe the Birth of New Solar Systems
Astronomers are gaining new insights on how our solar system was born from observations of a nearby star-forming region ...
SEP 01, 2021
Chemistry & Physics
New Study Suggests One-third of Binary Stars Have Engulfed Their Planets
SEP 01, 2021
New Study Suggests One-third of Binary Stars Have Engulfed Their Planets
While our solar system is relatively calm and inert, some sun-like stars out there will literally eat the planets in the ...
Loading Comments...