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Did You Know That Only 313 Stars Have Officially Approved Names?

01/04/2018 08:52AM

Did You Know That Only 313 Stars Have Officially Approved Names?

The cataloging of stars has seen a long history. Since prehistory, cultures and civilizations all around the world have given their own unique names to the brightest and most prominent stars in the night sky. Certain names have remained little changed as they passed through Greek, Latin, and Arabic cultures, and some are still in use today. As astronomy developed and advanced over the centuries, a need arose for a universal cataloging system, whereby the brightest stars were known by the same labels, regardless of the country or culture from which the astronomers came. This past year, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) formally approved 86 new names for stars and the IAU catalog now contains the officially approved names of 313 stars.


Maybe the next Kepler like mission could be funded by auctioning the naming rights to a patch of sky. You might generate enough money to build an even more premium planet exploration mission than was ever imagined. It would certainly increase general interest in astronomy and the impetus to buy a telescope to look at the particular star would be quite strong. While I know this is just a twinkle in my eye, I do have quite an affinity with a particular Wolf-Rayet star that will remain unnamed.