Public to vote for name of planet in our solar system

Astronomers have invited the public to help decide the name of a planet in our solar system.

The minor planet was discovered in 2007 in the Kuiper Belt that orbits the sun beyond Neptune and is currently known as (225088) 2007 OR10.

US scientists who found the planet have now proposed three names for the public to vote on, with the winner set to be submitted to the International Astronomical Union as a formal suggestion.

The names that have been put forward are Gonggong, Holle and Vili.

Gonggong is a Mandarin word that describes a Chinese water god who is reputed to have visited floods upon the Earth.

Holle is a German fairy tale character with connections to Christmas, while Vili is a Nordic deity who battled and beat a frost giant.

It is believed the planet may have a rocky, icy surface with a reddish tint due to the presence of methane in the ice.

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The decision to let the public decide on three chosen names, rather than propose names for themselves, will help organisers avoid a repeat of previous votes that have backfired.

In 2017, a submersible was christened Boaty McBoatface after the Natural Environment Research Council asked members of the public to name the vessel.

The sub was christened Boaty McBoatface after a public vote
Image: The sub was christened Boaty McBoatface after a public vote

The astronomers say on their website: “We tried to selected deities where there were links to the colour red and also where there was a theme of the inside turning outside or with water ice/snow.

“We also looked for naming suggestions that have connections to other mythological creatures and deities that could be used as naming options for 2007 OR10’s moon.”

The public have until 11 May to vote for their choice on the astronomers’ website.

Source: SKY NEWS

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