Pitara Kids Network

How are Stars Named?

Till now we have only seen roads, railway stations, airports, places etc. being named after famous people. But imagine paying money to get a star named after you. If that can happen, then anything is possible in this world!

Well, there are organisations in different parts of the world that sell names for the stars in the sky. All you have to do is – go there, fill out the long, detailed form that they give you and buy star names or name stars after someone.

However, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) in France disapproves of this. It says that this practice is neither valid nor ethical. The IAU also dislikes these companies “selling” fictitious star names or “real estate” on other planets or moons in the Solar System. It says that though some stars have traditional Arabic names, most other stars have just catalogue numbers and positions on the sky.

How are Stars Named?

IAU explains that naming small groups of well-known bodies, like the planets or stars that can be seen by the naked eye, is fine. But there are hundreds of millions of stars. How can all be named? If they were all named, then finding any one star would be like trying to find Bank Street in India or Queen’s Road in Britain. Can you imagine doing that without a proper pin code number?

Similarly for stars, having a particular pin code number, instead of a name, would help in locating them.

It’s true that ‘gifting a star’ would be a unique present and would please anybody on this earth. But it is also true that the stars in the sky are for all of us to enjoy, and so they should not be for sale.

So if you have a passion for the stars and the sky, then go to a planetarium and enjoy the beauty. Better still, lie down on your terrace and gaze at the starry sky. It sure is more pleasurable than spending huge sums of money just to get some fictitious star named after you.