Finalist names

Over 10,000 young people across the UK suggested over 1,000 individual names for consideration. These were whittled down to a “top ten” by a team of astronomy experts, with the public now offered the chance to crown a winner.

The following shortlist is alphabetical on proposed star name.

Proposer: 31st Burnley Guide Unit, Burnley
Exoplanet Name: Snowdon
Star name: Ben Nevis
Reason for these names: These are mountains of the UK that reach up from our country and out towards the skies.  When they are climbed, the view from these mountains make the human spirit soar, especially if we contemplate the stars above us.  The names could be expanded to include other UK mountains.

Proposer: 379 (County of Ross) Squadron RAF Air Cadets, Ross-shire, Highlands
Exoplanet Name: Saoghal
Star name: Breagha
Reason for these names: Both names come from the Scottish Gaelic language where Saoghal is Gaelic for the “World” while Breagha means “Beautiful”. Being a Highland Wing Squadron, it was thought appropriate to suggest names from ancient Gaelic words, a theme that could easily be extended to future observed objects.

Proposer: Maesycwmmer Primary School, Caerphilly
Exoplanet Name: Delwyn
Star name: Ceridwen
Reason for these names: As a Welsh school, we felt a welsh name would be appropriate.  Delwyn means godly friend, appropriate for an exoplanet, while Ceridwen was the Celtic goddess of rebirth, transformation, and inspiration, very fitting for a star. Other welsh names and myths could extend the naming convention.

Proposer: First Islay, 3rd Argyll, Scout Group, Argyll & Bute
Exoplanet Name: Finlaggan
Star name: Dunyvaig
Reason for these names: These are the historic ancient monuments on the Isle of Islay that were home to the Castles of the ancient Norse/Gaelic Lord of the Isles.  Finlaggan was their ancient seat and Dunyvaig their naval fortress. The Beavers and Cubs have recently all been involved in the current archeological dig at Dunyvaig Castle and were keen to see our unique Norse/Gaelic heritage recognised in space! This naming theme could be extended to other similar sites across the Isles.

Proposer: Garrett Hall Primary School, Tyldesley, Manchester
Exoplanet Name: Elan
Star name: Galloway
Reason for these names: These were chosen as Galloway Forest in Scotland and Elan Valley in Wales are two of the best area in the UK to view the night sky. Both are designated as Dark Sky Parks and other similar UK areas would expand this theme.

Proposer: Cronk y Berry Primary School, Isle of Man
Exoplanet Name: Cruinlagh
Star name: Gloas
Reason for these names: In Manx Gaelic, we have named the star Gloas (pronounced glowas) which means “shine” while we have called the exoplanet Cruinlagh (pronounced crunlack) means “orbit”. We decided to describe what the exoplanet and star are actually doing (!) and further Manx Gaelic descriptions would extend the naming theme.

Proposer: Treviglas Academy, Cornwell
Exoplanet Name: Dalla
Star name: Kann
Reason for these names: Kann is Cornish for “bright” while Dalla is Cornish for “beginning” and so the star and exoplanet together would be “Bright Beginning”. This would recognise the chance to start afresh for this exoworld, not making the mistakes we have made in our world (for example, looking after the planet and not polluting it with plastics and excessively burning fossil fuels). The naming theme would be extended to other appropriate Cornish words to describe the discovery of other planets say.

Proposer: Mytchett Primary School, Surrey
Exoplanet Name: Thistle
Star name: Poppy
Reason for these names: Using the naming theme of flowering plants associated with the UK, we have chosen “Poppy” for the star and “thistle” for the exoplanet.  The poppy gives us hope for a peaceful future. As well as being the emblem for Scotland, the thistle stands for bravery, determination and strength.

Proposer: Bryn Celynnog Comprehensive School, Rhondda Cynon Taff
Exoplanet Name: Hafal
Star name: Recorde
Reason for these names: We would like to name the star after the famous Welsh mathematician, Robert Recorde. Recorde (1510-1558) was from Tenby, South Wales and was one of the first notable people to agree with Copernicus’ heliocentric model of our solar system. Also, he invented the equals sign! Thus, we want to name the exoplanet Hafal, after the welsh term for the equals sign. The names could be extended to different names for other mathematical symbols in different languages or after the people who first used them.

Proposer: Chelmsford Hospital School, Chelmsford
Exoplanet Name: Bluestone
Star name: Sarsen
Reason for these names: Bluestone and sarsen are the main two types of rock used in the construction of Stonehenge. We think these would be very appropriate names because of the links that Stonehenge has with astronomy, drawing attention to the bridge between the ancient and the modern world. Stone used to form other UK ancient sites could expand the theme.

Vote for your favourites

After receiving over a thousand individual naming suggestions from hundreds of different schools and youth organisations across the UK, only a top ten set of names are being put forward for a public vote.

Note that that you are asked to indicate up to three pairs of names that you wish to show are your favourites. However, you can only take part once from a specific web browser on your computer, tablet or smartphone.

The proposed names have a common theme.

The first name is the proposed name for the exoplanet.

The second name is the proposed name for the star.

Please follow the link below to vote for naming the UK’s exoplanet and star. Vote closes on the 2nd December 2019.


The public vote has now closed. The votes are being counted and the results verified by the International Astronomical Union. The winning names will be announced on 17th December 2019

Stages and schedule

There are four stages of the IAU UK Exoworld Naming Competition.

Stage 1: Suggesting names (6th September to 18th October 2019)

Schools and youth organisations only will propose names for the UK’s designated exoplanet and host star. A brief description and rationale for why those names have been chosen is required.

Stage 2:  Choosing finalists (19th October 2019- 15th November 2019)

The proposed names will be reduced to a small number of finalist names by a panel of experts.

Stage 3: A public vote (19th November 2019 to 2nd December 2019)

In mid November 2019, those school/youth organisations who proposed the finalist names will be notified. A public vote on the finalist names will be undertaken electronically via a form which will be available on this website.

Stage 4: The winning names are announced (17th December 2019)

The winning names from the public vote will be announced 17th December 2019 along with all other winning names from all the countries participating in this IAU world-wide activity. The name of the school/class/youth organisation/group that proposed the winning names will be published and recognised internationally as the namers of WASP-13 and WASP-13b.


Naming and submission rules

It is very important that you understand the basic International Astronomical Union’s Naming Rules for the IAU UK Exoworld Naming Competition. These are outlined as follows.

The competition will only accept names for WASP-13 and WASP-13b that are submitted by UK-based school classes and youth organisations/groups (including those in home education). Each submission must be undertaken by an adult (18+ years) on behalf of the school class, youth group etc. Multiple separate submissions from a class/group can be made.

Please note that unfortunately submissions by individuals outside of that outlined above will not be accepted.

The proposed names should be of things, people, or places of long-standing cultural, historical, or geographical significance, worthy of being memorialized through naming of a celestial object.

Although not necessary, it would be good if the names could be related to the UK in some manner. Also, the names may be drawn from themes related to the sky and astronomy or related in some way to the constellation that the exoplanetary system is observed within.

Two names should be proposed – one for the exoplanet and one for the star it orbits.

The two names should follow a common naming theme. The naming theme describes how the names are related in some logical way, should be summarized in a sentence or two, and be broad enough that additional names could be used to identify further objects in that exoplanetary system in the future (e.g. additional planets which might be discovered, additional stellar companions). Examples from the IAU include, say, rivers of country X or fictional lands in 19th century stories from country Y etc. but we are looking for as much creativity as possible!

Proposed names must be

  • between 4 and 16 characters in length in the Latin alphabet (including spaces or punctuation);
  • pronounceable; and
  • non-offensive

If possible, names should preferably be one word and as mentioned, be connected to the United Kingdom in some manner.

In addition, proposed names must not be:

  • names of a purely or principally commercial nature;
  • names of individuals, places or events principally known for political, military or religious activities;
  • names of individuals that died less than a century ago (after 1919);
  • names of living individuals;
  • names of organizations related to the selection process;
  • names of pet animals;
  • contrived names (i.e. new, invented);
  • acronyms;
  • names that include numbers or punctuation marks (though diacritics are acceptable; eg. déjà vu);
  • names that are principally known as trademarks or protected by intellectual property claims.

We also reserve the right to exclude names that are too similar to those already existing names of astronomical objects. Names already assigned should be checked using the following links (the expert panel will also use these to guide the short-listing process):

All proposed names must be accompanied by a citation of no more than 150 words explaining the naming theme for the names chosen.

The winning names will be recognized by the IAU as the appropriate publicly used name for the object(s). It is understood that the selected winning names will not replace the scientific alphanumeric designations.

The winning names will be published as such, along with due credit to the proposers that proposed them. This new name may then be used internationally along with, or instead of, the scientific designation, permanently and without restrictions.

The official IAU rules are also available on the NameExoWorlds website