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Below you will find answers to frequently asked questions.


What is the NameExoWorlds project?

NameExoWorlds is a program facilitated by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) so that people around the world can work together to name an exoplanet and its hosting star.


What is an exoplanet?

An exoplanet is a planet outside the Solar System. They orbit stars or stellar remnants (like white dwarfs or neutron stars). Thousands of exoplanets have been discovered orbiting other stars over the past three decades. The exoplanets to be named via the NameExoWorlds campaign are in systems with a single star and only one exoplanet known so far. Other exoplanets may be orbiting these stars, and perhaps even other stellar companions, but additional objects in these systems are not yet known.


What is an "exoworld"?

For the purposes of this naming campaign, and the previous 2015 and 2019 IAU naming campaigns, the nickname “exoworld” refers to an exoplanet or its host star. This project enables the participation of the public in the naming of not only an exoplanet, but its host star. 


What members can constitute a team?

A team should comprise some combination of students and teachers, astronomy enthusiasts, amateur astronomers, and professional astronomers (with members from multiple categories on the team). 


Can team members belong to different countries?

Yes, a team can be constituted by members from more than one country, but the team needs to select a country/region that represents most or all of the members at the time of submission. 

Some of the team members can be from another country than they are representing but a team should submit to only one country. (For example, a country can “borrow” an astronomer from another country or territory to be on their team)


How many members can a team have?

There is no limit to the number of people a team can have, but a team should be composed of some combination of students and teachers, astronomy enthusiasts, amateur astronomers, and professional astronomers.  


How can I participate?

  1. Create a team composed of students and teachers, astronomy enthusiasts, amateurs astronomers and professional astronomers.

  2. Create and implement an outreach event; 

  3. Prepare a report for your naming proposals and outreach activities (written maximum 300 words+video maximum 3 minutes).

  4. Submit your naming proposal via this form.


How is the selection process carried out?

The IAU National Outreach Coordinator (NOC) is responsible for selecting a country’s proposal at the national level. A panel led by the discoverers and the IAU Executive Committee Working Group will select the final name of the exoworlds from all participating countries.


Can a team propose more than one pair of names?

Teams are limited to a single submission (in this case, a pair of names; one for the exoplanet and one for their host star).


Can I be a member of more than one team?

Yes, you are allowed to participate in more than one team, but each team is limited to a single submission.


Can I share outreach initiatives with other team?

A team may have parts of their outreach initiatives shared with another team, provided not all details are exactly identical. However, note that these teams will first have to compete against each other in the national vetting round if they both belong to the same country.


What type of systems will be named?

The systems are pairs of exoplanets and their stars. These systems are special as they are among some of the first exoplanet targets of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) which launched in December 2021. JWST is the most powerful space telescope ever launched and is an international collaboration between multiple space agencies, including the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), and the European Space Agency (ESA). The exoplanets have been discovered through a mix of techniques, mostly via the transit method and direct imaging. 


Can we propose pairs of names for a particular system (exoplanet & star)?

Yes. It is encouraged that each team selects a system they wish to propose the names (i.e. that the proposals are tied to a particular exoworld). This allows the team to tie the names to certain attributes unique to this system or e.g. the mythology related to a certain location in the sky, certain characteristics of the bodies in that system. You can find more information about each exoplanet system by checking our List of ExoWorlds 2022.


Can we propose names that could be applied to any system?

Teams have the option to propose pairs of names (and the associated theme) that can be applied to any system, but this will put your proposal at a  disadvantage during the selection process.


How many exoworlds will be named?

Twenty systems: 20 exoplanets and their host stars. 


Are there specific rules for naming exoworlds?

Yes, there are. Check the rules in the Naming rules page.


When can I submit my naming proposals?

The Naming process ends on the 11th of December 2022. After which the panel in each country will select top candidates belonging to each country. Find more information in the Important Dates page.


How will the backups be looked at by the final review panel?

Although not mandatory, national committees may submit two backup entries along with each countries' top candidate. The backup proposals will only get reviewed by the final selection panel if the panel is unable to arrive at a conclusion from the main entries.


When will the results be released?

The results will be announced in March 2023.


How were these exoplanets discovered?

The exoplanets in the 2022 NameExoWorlds campaign were discovered through a variety of techniques, including radial velocity, transit, and direct imaging. All of these exoplanetry systems were proposed by astronomers to be observed with the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) early in its operations. Some news stories have mistakenly stated that the exoplanets were discovered by the James Webb Space Telescope, however this is not correct - all of them were discovered using other observatories and they will now be observed separately by the recently launched JWST.


I am having difficulties in assembling a team. Can I have some support?

You can reach out to your IAU National Outreach Coordinator (NOC) and request for support. If you can't contact your NOC then please contact us. You can also submit a request to the IAU outreach programme "Meet the IAU Astronomers" that can connect you with an astronomer.

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