Talk:Astronomical naming conventions

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Given that the IAU is meeting now to discuss what makes a planet a planet, I find it very interesting that someone is actaully considering naming a planet after a fictional character; I refer, of course, to the 12th planetary body in our system, currently designated UB313.

Someone at the IAU is thinking of naming it Xena, after the television show, and calling its satellite Gabrielle, after her travelling companion.


This rumor is not true. Xena and Gabrielle are the codenames which the discovers have been using informally, but which even they are not suggesting as the official names. [1]: "We use these names internally simply because they are easier to say and remember [...]. There is no chance whatsoever that these will become the permanent names of these objects!" Tfleming 17:54, 19 August 2006 (UTC)
In the Minor Planets section, the official (as of 13/9/2006) designation 136199 Eris would be a good second example of naming TNOs after underworld deities, along with the cited Orcus example. Also please note that 624 Hektor is the worst possible example of a Jupiter Trojan in the Trojan camp, since it is located in Jupiter's L4 Lagrangian point (the Greek camp) and one of only two exceptions to the Greek/Trojan naming. There are plenty to choose from to replace it and correct this error. 01:54, 14 September 2006 (UTC)
The error with 624 Hektor has been fixed and replaced by 884 Priamus. Jan.Kamenicek 06:03, 14 September 2006 (UTC)

"Natural satellites of planets" section[edit]

Two questions from material in this section: 1. What is meant by the phrase "...;although no occurrence of the other planets is expected,..."? Does it mean "although it is not anticipated that any more satellites will be discovered orbiting either Mercury or Mars"? 2. What is P doing in this section at all? It has been reclassified by the IAU. Is it "grandfathered in" to the set of planets here simply by virtue of tradition and agreed-upon convention? Writtenright (talk) 02:22, 7 December 2007 (UTC)Writtenright

I think that Pluto remains included in this section, because its known satellites were discovered in the time when it was considered a planet and thus their naming followed the rules described in this section.
I am not able to answer 1st point, but I agree that the mentioned sentence is quite ambiguous and therefore should be rewritten. Jan.Kamenicek (talk) 16:10, 9 December 2007 (UTC)


Does P still remain a valid designator for Pluto? And do the dwarf planets have their own designators? (talk) 19:00, 31 March 2009 (UTC)


It should be noted that novae are given nova designations and if their progenitor haven't been designated already, receive a variable star designation. (talk) 19:03, 31 March 2009 (UTC)

1995 changes[edit]

Please use [2] to source the 1995 changes in naming of comets. --Enric Naval (talk) 12:10, 17 February 2012 (UTC)

Designations for extra-solar planets[edit]

Ref to roleplay removed. It an extension of SciFi. Both external links were dead. Not notable enough. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:17, 14 July 2012 (UTC)


It is my understanding that comets are treated the same as planets - the word comet is not a part of the name, and not capitalized, so just as we say plant Mars, planet Jupiter, planet Earth, it is comet 17P/Holmes, comet Hale-Bopp, and comet 1P/Halley, also known as Halley's comet. Apteva (talk) 18:13, 17 December 2012 (UTC)


Has a scheme been chosen for when the number of supernova discoveries surpasses 702 in a year? I hope so, for as many as 572 have been found already in one year (2007). Suppose we get to one designated "SN2013zz" - what would the next one be, if also found in 2013? I am very worried about this. (talk) 23:37, 11 July 2013 (UTC)concerned wikipedia user

The Sun being called "Sol"[edit]

I'm creating a website, and I came across an uncited claim in this article that the Sun is sometimes called "Sol". Based on my research, I believe this is only the case in science fiction, so I added a clarification. (Similarly for the Moon being called "Luna".) However, I don't want to be accused of editing the page just to support my argument, so if there's a citation that can be added, or a better way to phrase it, that's perfectly fine with me. Thank you. Cosmologicon (talk) 16:07, 6 August 2014 (UTC)

IAU Working Group on Star Names[edit]

I opened a section on the implications of this new IAU working group on Wikipedia talk:Naming conventions (astronomical objects), which editors of this page may be interested in. Cuddlyopedia (talk) 13:23, 30 July 2016 (UTC)

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