The IAU now has a working group to collect colloquial names for stars.

The IAU now has a working group to collect colloquial names for stars. This is the closest we’ve ever had to an official list of star names, and it’s a very welcome advancement. I wish this existed 20 years ago when I was bombarded daily about buying star names via my constellations website! (

Many of you know the IAU as the demonized organization that demoted Pluto from “planet” to “dwarf planet” status. They’re not a law-making group or anything like that, but they are the pre-eminent standards body for the field of astronomy. They’re declarations are worthy of respect and create a useful consensus. For example, they’re the group that has defined our modern 88 constellations — which are of course arbitrary celestiographic boundaries in the sky. (I just made up the word celestiographic in analogy to geographic)

My favorite name in the star name list is Meissa.

Here’s the press release:

9 replies on “The IAU now has a working group to collect colloquial names for stars.”

  1. Timmy Brian Connolly two part answer to that: 1) within our own Milky Way galaxy, we can only see about 50,000 ly (give or take a lot) in the direction of the galaxy because opaque clouds of gas and dust block our view. It’s like being in a thin forest — sideways, you can see only a little ways but straight up you can see the sky. 2) in the whole universe, we can see roughly 93 billion ly ( Beyond that there is more space, but light from that distance is not able to reach us because the universe is expanding faster than light can cover the distance. – Observable universe – Wikipedia

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