Name that Planet and its host star
  • Science
  • Senior
  • Sixth Form
  • STEM

In celebration of its 100th anniversary, in autumn 2019 the International Astronomical Union (IAU) gave budding young astronomers across the UK the opportunity to name their own exoplanet and the star it orbits.

Worldwide, the IAU ExoWorld Naming Competition invited 93 countries to give a new name to different planetary systems, consisting of an exoplanet – a planet that exists outside our own Solar System – and its host star. Each nation's star is visible from that country and is bright enough to be observed through small telescopes. Usually, the exoplanet itself is hidden by the brightness of the star and special observational techniques must be used to detect its presence.

The UK’s designated exoplanet was named WASP-13b (from the international consortium, Wide Angle Search for Planets). This is a large, gaseous planet, found in the Lynx constellation in 1997. It is about a third of the mass of Jupiter but has a radius 22% larger than the gas giant. The exoplanet orbits very close to its host star (WASP-13) at approximately only 5% of the distance between the Sun and Earth, and does one full orbit in only four days!  This star is over 740 light years from Earth and is similar to the Sun, although it is likely to be larger, hotter and older.

Some of the fantastic ideas put forward by students at LEH include:

I think Soleris would be a good name for WASP-13 because it is like the sun but older and ‘solis’ is Latin for sun and ‘veteris’ is Latin for old and those two together make Soleris. I think WASP-13b should be called Sotum because ‘sovis’ is Latin for new and ‘inventum’ is Latin for discover. I think it could also be called Faunus after the Roman god (also known as Pan ).”     

Katherine - IIIL


“For the name of the star (WASP-13), I have two suggestions:

Igneus - It means hot and fiery in Latin and according to my research, I feel the name is appropriate because WASP-13 is even hotter than the sun.

Asteria - Asteria is the name of the Greek ‘Goddess of Stars’ and it also means ‘Starry Night and Star Maiden’.

For the name of the planet (WASP-13b), my suggestion is:

Ingentis - Ingentis means colossal in Latin and I feel that this would be appropriate because according to my research, WASP-13b is even larger than Jupiter.”

Anabelle – IIIL


“For the WASP-13, we came up with the name Groth, the story behind it being basically the planet Hoth from star wars, but with a different start to the word.

For WASP-13b, we thought of the name Phyray, because, as my brother said ‘my name is Ray and it sounds like it comes from Star Wars”

Lily - LIV


I have a suggestion for the names of the planet and star.

For the star I thought of Pacsole - The pac stands for plus age chaud and the sole comes from soleil.

These are French words meaning older hot sun. Firstly it’s in French because the measurements were taken using the SOPHIE échelle spectograph at the Haute-Province Observatory in France therefore I thought the French words would represent that. It is very similar to the sun (metallicity) but it is older and hotter, therefore why plus age and chaud. I made it PAC because it was shorter and easier to say.

For the planet it was harder but I decided on grandezeus-rapido

The word Zeus was used because this planet is compared to being bigger than Jupiter and Jupiter is the Roman god of gods. The Greek God of gods is called Zeus and they are often referred to being the same but different. I thought this kind of applied in this sense, although I used the word grande as it is much bigger (almost 14 tenths bigger). I used rapido as it orbits it’s star at an extremely fast speed. The words are in Spanish as the SUPERWASP north that found this planet and star is located in Roque de los Muchachos Observatory which is Spanish speaking.”

Nilomi – LVP


I have chosen this name because it is a strong and powerful name and is a very suitable name for a planet, and it also sounds very godlike, this also fits into the way they used to name planets, as they used to name them after gods.

My star name: Sagrides

In have chosen this name because again it is strong and powerful and is a very suitable name for a star of such importance, though this name sounds less godlike, I guess that not many stars are named after gods, take our star for instance, we just called it ‘the sun’, and I’m not sure there is a god called ‘the sun’.”

These are my names for WASP-13 and WASP-13b.

Fervena - WASP 13

Multinus - WASP 13b

This is because the star is hot and glowing, like the Latin fervens. I have named the planet this because it has a large mass and radius, but almost no core. The name therefore comes from the Latin multus minus.”

Zoya – LIVK


“…the first thing that I thought of was naming the planet ‘Fast’ due to the low density and quick orbital speed and the star ‘Furious’ because of the heat of a star so that when the small solar system is described…”

Michelle – UVID


“I think the Star WASP 13 should be called Iberico because this means Iberian in Spanish and the star is in the Lynx Constellation. Also the Iberian Lynx is the world's most endangered cat but luckily it has been saved and the numbers have gone up from less than 100 to more than 400 because of conservation. So this is a success story that we can celebrate through naming the star and making people more aware of how important it is to save our animals from extinction. I also went to an art exhibition in London by my favourite artist PJ Crook and it was called "Preserving the Species". It was all about saving our planet and animals which was really amazing.

I think the planet WASP 13b should be called Celera-Rapida because it whizzes around its star in just 4 days and Celera comes from the Latin "celer" meaning fast and "rapida" is Spanish for speedy and fast too.

I used google to start my research and started with WASP 13 and found it was in the Lynx constellation and I already knew about Lynxes through the National Geographic magazine and then went on from there. We learnt about synonyms and last year Mrs Frampton asked us to look up meanings of words in the Dictionary and Thesaurus so that's how I got the idea to see what other words mean "fast"in other languages. (I also liked the word velox which also means fast in Latin too!)”

Eliana – UIH


I have Chosen these two names for the competition:

[Planet] Obelix or any variant of the name.

In the comics, he is very large but very quick footed.

[Star] Hanuman.

He is the son of the Hindu god of wind. He is big and powerful but as fast as the wind.”

Sanjana  - UIV


I would name the star ‘Nora’ as it has the meaning of shining light in Hebrew.

And then I would name the planet Neo because it means new in Latin and Greek. I feel that it was a nice name because it was a new discovery and it fits in with most of the other planets which come from Latin and Greek.”

Avni Ladwa – UIV


Following the public vote, the UK named the exoplanet and its host star ‘Cruinlagh (pronounced crunlack) and Gloas (pronounced glowas). These are Manx Gaelic words meaning ‘orbit’ and ‘shine’ respectively, describing the physical processes of the exoplanet and its star.

Mr Brittain - STEM Co-ordinator and Physics Teacher