The first ever contest allowing members of the public to name a planet has begun. The IAU is organizing a worldwide contest to give popular names to selected exoplanets along with their host stars. The first round of the NameExoWorlds competition allows all registered clubs and non-profit organisations to participate and submit names. Then the public will vote on June 2015 the general public votes to rank the proposed names. The IAU and Zooniverse will be ready to handle a million votes or more worldwide.
Although people have been naming celestial objects for millennia, the IAU was delegated the task of assigning scientifically recognized names to newly discovered celestial bodies by its member countries. The NameExoWorlds contest is the first opportunity that the public will have to name not only exoplanets, but also, for the first time in centuries, to give popular names to stars — those that have known exoplanets in orbit around them.
To participate in the contest, clubs and non-profit organisations must first register with the IAU Directory of World Astronomy. The deadline for which has been extended to 23:59 UTC on 15 May 2015.
The final results are expected to be announced at a special public ceremony held during the IAU XXIX General Assembly in Honolulu, USA, 3–14 August 2015.