Exoplanets are planets located outside our solar system. One such lonely planet and the star it
orbits is currently in the process of getting a Bengali or Sanskrit name from the Astronomical
Society of India ( ASI).
Users in India can vote for their favorite choice. The star HD86081 — which is a lot like
Earth’s Sun only hotter, larger and a little older — has one Bengali name and four Sanskrit
names in the running.
The Jupiter-like exoplanet that orbits the star also has one Bengali option and four Sanskrit
names up for voting. The planet is similar to Jupiter because of its massive size and is
composed that its composition is made up entirely of gas.
Unlike Jupiter, H86081 b is the only planet circling the parent star. It’s also much closer to
the star and much hotter. So hot, in fact, that iron and gold would melt on its surface.
And, since it’s closer, it only takes 2 Earth days for it to finish a complete orbit around the
star. This means that one year on H86081 b is only the length of two days on Earth.
Narrowing down the names
Students were invited by the organisation to submit their suggestions as a part of the
International Astronomical Union’s (IAU) campaign — NameExoworlds — to name the
astronomical objects currently classified as the star HD 86081 and the exoplanet HD86081.
The deadline was extended for 15 August 2019 to 30 August 2019 because the names being
sent in were mostly in English or Greek and the ASI was looking for an ‘Indian name’.
From the thousands of entries that came in, five names were shortlisted for each of them. The
options were opened to the public for voting on 10 October 2019. Voting will remain open till
1 November 2019, after which the final list of names will be sent to the IAU.
The final results will be announced by the international organisation in December.