From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Determining consensus for extrasolar planet naming[edit]

I was the reason for the title changes of Extrasolar planets a while back (which I apologized for). But the main reason I did that was because there is no true consensus and or rule for naming extrasolar planet articles, here on Wikipedia. Not only does external sources state different opinions, Wikipedia itself gives confusing and mixed opinions. For instance, articles like "Gliese 581 c" have consensuses that support having a space between the letter name [1] [2], while articles like "OGLE-2005-BLG-390Lb" [3] [4] and "XO-2b" [5] [6] have consensuses that do not want a space. Keeping the consensus on one page seems to be confusing to me and others (which could and did lead to what has happened before).

I propose that there be a site-wide consensus to extrasolar planet naming. If you read the naming conventions on this topic, it gives a vague and unclear description on it. Simply stating to use "scientific literature" is not enough information (in my opinion), because different scientific resources state differently. I propose that all planet names that have a letter name (51 Pegasi b, Gliese 581 c, HD 209458 b, XO-2 b, OGLE-2005-BLG-390L b, etc.) should aways have a space between the star's name and the planetary designation. This should eliminate any confusion on how to name extrasolar planetary articles, and is already in broad use on this site (being used in 90% of the article names). But I know that my say is not enough for a consensus. Please reply to this message (please tell me if it isn't clear enough). Do you like the idea, or do you have any better ideas? — NuclearVacuum 22:34, 21 July 2008 (UTC)

Personally I like having the space character in there, but, as was mentioned previously for HD 209458b, that doesn't necessarily match what is in the literature. Google scholar gets 767 ghits for "HD 209458b" and 155 ghits for "HD 209458 b". Of course, wikipedia doesn't always use the style conventions from other sources (such as for exponential notation) and (per the ghits) there doesn't seem to be a unanimous consensus among the professional astronomy community, so I think it may be acceptible.—RJH (talk) 17:30, 22 July 2008 (UTC)
Glad that this is acceptable. I made an explination that can be added to the new quote that can be mentioned in Wikipedia:Naming conventions (astronomical objects) (you can see it posted there). Hope it's easy to read and understand. — NuclearVacuum 19:09, 22 July 2008 (UTC)
Minor point: that link will die when this talk page is archived. I'm not sure the link to the discussion is necessary (it's a cross-namespace link), but if it's in there, this should be copied to something permanent like WT:WikiProject Astronomical objects/extrasolar planet naming. —Alex (ASHill | talk | contribs) 19:58, 22 July 2008 (UTC)
I absolutely agree with that. I have made this page to keep this discussion in reference (similar to Talk:Dwarf planet/Naming). I am also planning on rewriting the statement and placing it on Wikipedia:Naming conventions (astronomical objects). Hope this is OK with everybody. — NuclearVacuum 21:56, 22 July 2008 (UTC)

Here is the list of planetary articles that will need to be looked at (Google scholar hits listed):

  1. 2M1207b (89 ghits) → 2M1207 b (11 ghits)
  2. COROT-Exo-1b (8 ghits) → COROT-Exo-1 b (no ghits)
  3. COROT-Exo-2b (5 ghits) → COROT-Exo-2 b (no ghits)
  4. COROT-Exo-4b (no ghits) → COROT-Exo-3 b (no ghits)
  5. COROT-Exo-5b (no ghits) → COROT-Exo-4 b (no ghits)
  6. Lupus-TR-3b (5 ghits) → Lupus-TR-3 b (no ghits)
  7. MOA-2007-BLG-192Lb (1 ghit) → MOA-2007-BLG-192L b (no ghits)
  8. OGLE-2005-BLG-390Lb (54 ghits) → OGLE-2005-BLG-390L b (no ghits)
  9. WASP-1b (100 ghits) → WASP-1 b (1 ghit)
  10. WASP-2bWASP-2 b
  11. WASP-3bWASP-3 b
  12. WASP-4bWASP-4 b
  13. WASP-5bWASP-5 b
  14. WASP-6bWASP-6 b
  15. WASP-7bWASP-7 b
  16. WASP-8bWASP-8 b
  17. WASP-9bWASP-9 b
  18. WASP-10bWASP-10 b
  19. WASP-11bWASP-11 b
  20. WASP-12bWASP-12 b
  21. WASP-13bWASP-13 b
  22. WASP-14bWASP-14 b
  23. WASP-15bWASP-15 b
  24. XO-1b (96 ghits) → XO-1 b (230 ghits)
  25. XO-2b (151 ghits) → XO-2 b (216 ghits)
  26. XO-3b (56 ghits) → XO-3 b (72 ghits)

If I missed one, please add it in here. I will move them all eventurally, I just want to take it very, very, very slow! — NuclearVacuum 22:50, 22 July 2008 (UTC)

Naming is an idiosyncratic issue, we should use whatever us used most commonly, if there is a large preponderance of support for that name. If there are very few usages, and differing nomenclature, we should prefer the discoverer's choice. If there is not such aforementioned conditions, we should have a standard for use when there is no great usage one way or another, or when usage is more equally distributed between choices. We should not use a name just because we decide on a guideline to use it that way. As exoplanetary studies is a new field, the naming convention should not settle down for a while. If we use a space, and the large majority of sources do not, then that doesn't seem proper. And we should not be renaming planets based on the fact a particular website has badly written software that does not support the proper naming of things. (talk) 06:17, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
I do agree with that, as you did mention, "exoplanetary studies is a new field". However, not having some type of clarification and consensus here can (and has) lead to confusion. — NuclearVacuum 17:30, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
WASP-1b (100 ghits) → WASP-1 b (1 ghit)
This WASP-1b is why I think imposing a standard for naming that people don't actually use is improper. If people don't use it, we probably shouldn't either.
XO-3b (56 ghits) → XO-3 b (72 ghits)
The standard should apply only when a predominant name is not known, such as the XO-3-b case you listed. (talk) 06:22, 26 July 2008 (UTC)
I understand, but this is one of the reasons I am suggesting that there always be a space. Some of the important extrasolar planetary websites (including The Extrasolar Planets Encyclopaedia) always put a space in the name. Though this link is not always accurate with planetary names, other websites include Exoplanets and PlanetQuest. Because names like "WASP-1 b" are either not or rarely used, this leads to confusion and more questions. We need to make a clear definition on this. — NuclearVacuum 20:09, 26 July 2008 (UTC)
I'm starting to have second thoughts about this. We definitely shouldn't be using names like "COROT-Exo-1 b" that don't exist outside of Wikipedia. Hence, until IAU comes out with a standard for the nomenclature, I think it's less contentious to go with the common name in the scientific literature. Thus 51 Pegasi b and HD 209458b.—RJH (talk) 17:48, 27 July 2008 (UTC)
Re the Google Scholar searches mentioned above, if you look at the actual search results, you'll see that many of the results for "XO-1b", "XO-2b", and "XO-3b", with or without spaces, have nothing to do with the exoplanets but come from pieces of mathematical formulae or tabular data which happen to match the search string. Adding "planet" or "exoplanet" to the search string to remove these spurious hits places the forms of the names without spaces clearly in the lead. Spacepotato (talk) 18:44, 27 July 2008 (UTC)

Possible pattern[edit]

After reading the two recent comments, I decided to do more research on the topic. I believe I have found a pattern in extrasolar planetary names. Searching planets that I know use no space are all transiting planets or discovered with non-Doppler telescopes. While the ones with spaces were all found with Doppler. This seemed to be a pattern, so I looked at Google Scholars for back-up. Here are my results:

  • HD 209458b was discovered by a Transit, and gets "ghits" of 769 (over 155).
  • HD 28185 b was discovered by the Doppler method, and gets "ghits" of 12 (over 3).

Though these are only two examples, check it for yourself, it seems to add up. "PSR B1620-26 c" is used most, while "PSR B1620-26c" is not used at all. Because of this new evidence, I propose a new clarifying statement for the naming article:

Please check it out for yourself. — NuclearVacuum 00:27, 28 July 2008 (UTC)

Alas, as a counter-example, "Gliese 876b" was discovered by radial velocity measurement and gets 31 scholar ghits (versus 11 for "Gliese 876 b"). I'd imagine the convention depends on the group of astronomers making the discovery.—RJH (talk) 16:11, 28 July 2008 (UTC)
Why don't you file a WP:RFC for this to get more people discussing the issue? (talk) 09:07, 31 July 2008 (UTC)

Back to using spaces[edit]

I knew it was too good to be true. Now realizing that some planetary systems may have different types of naming styles, I rest my case on always using spaces. Doing so would stop confusion on this issue, and (as quoted by RJHall) "I like having the space character in there." After years of reading, having spaces is usually the public consensus used in several public and private references. Again, I believe I am resting my case again. — NuclearVacuum 19:08, 28 July 2008 (UTC)

I now find that using spaces in some planets that don't have reference of spaces is not a big issue and would be accepted. If you take for example Mu Arae b, "HD 160691 b" is quoted more than "Mu Arae b", yet not just Wikipedia, the general consensus prefers to use this Bayer over the Draper name. This same consensus would also accept "WASP-1 b." — NuclearVacuum 19:17, 28 July 2008 (UTC)
There's a naming standard for star articles, preferring common name, then Bayer, then Flamsteed, then HD/HDE, IIRC. If the article is named "Mu Arae b", it would be because of consistency with the star article. It would be wrong to not include a space in "Mu Araeb" because "Arae" is the correct spelling of the word. (talk) 05:32, 29 July 2008 (UTC)
I'm curious, where are you seeing this consensus? If anything, there seems to be a fair amount of disagreement with your proposal. I also noted that I was having second thoughts, which you apparently have disregarded. I think it would be good to be a little more patient here until this is resolved.—RJH (talk) 15:56, 29 July 2008 (UTC)
I read that you had second thoughts, but I couldn't reply to that. There needs to be some type of clarification for this issue, but this is the only answer I can come up with. Please don't think I was ignoring or disregarding you, I just couldn't think of a response. Also, I am being patient, have I done anything wrong with my proposals? Also, references on public references (like SolStation and Extrasolar Visions II). The people that post on them all use a space. — NuclearVacuum 16:06, 29 July 2008 (UTC)

Is it not unreasonable to use the names employed in the scientific literature?—RJH (talk) 17:33, 29 July 2008 (UTC)

I never disagreed to using literature. I simply request that there be a clearer definition on how to acquire it. Also, please reply to the new proposal I posted. — NuclearVacuum 17:45, 29 July 2008 (UTC)
I would say that Extrasolar Visions is somewhat low on my list of what to pick as the best example of usage or factual accuracy. I would still use it, I'd just weight it lower. (talk) 08:57, 31 July 2008 (UTC)

Second proposal[edit]

I have looked at all the names that extrasolar planets can be names, and I believe I have found another pattern. All planets named directly after the star usually have a space, while planets named after the telescope usually have no space. Take a look.

In most cases, planets have a space
Other cases do not;

Because of this, here is my proposal:

With this proposal, everybody wins. There is an explanation for those who need one, not every planetary article will have to be changed, and everything is the same as it once was. In fact, the only articles that would need to be changed would be OGLE-2006-BLG-109L b, OGLE-2006-BLG-109L c, OGLE-TR-10 b, and OGLE-TR-111 b (which should have been changed long ago). This is a win-win scenario for everybody. — NuclearVacuum 16:37, 29 July 2008 (UTC)

I am aware that most of you found this discussion was idiotic and pointless. But consider why I did this. I was confused as to why some planets have spaces and some don't. I go so confused, I BS myself and changed all the planetary articles and got myself in big trouble. So instead of doing something to an article itself, I started this discussion to get the answers I needed. Please don't think bad of me, I think I did pretty good in controlling myself and got some good points out. — NuclearVacuum 16:37, 29 July 2008 (UTC)
Don't take this the wrong way, but is this an ego issue?—RJH (talk) 17:59, 29 July 2008 (UTC)
I don't believe so. I just want there to be a strait answer. — NuclearVacuum 18:07, 29 July 2008 (UTC)
Also, how come you didn't respond to this (besides insulting me)? Is there something wrong with this one as well? — NuclearVacuum 19:32, 29 July 2008 (UTC)
I still think that violating WP:NOR is a bad idea when there is no standard usage in the field of study. If 99.99% of usage is not what we would end up using because of the standard you propose, that seems improper. Using what the researchers are using, if there is a clear-cut case, should be the article name. When no such usage exists, and there are a number of clear major usages, the standard should help us pick one of those, and not an unused name. When there is little usage, it should be easier just to use the discoverer's name, since it's probably the most referenced paper for subsequent research. Ofcourse these names could be different from the name used for the star article... which would be unfortunate but not fatal. (talk) 09:03, 31 July 2008 (UTC)

Third proposal[edit]

I am currently at the point where nobody is supporting me or understanding what I am stating. Since I can't explain my point any clearer than I already did, this talk seems pointless. Secondly, I am beginning to understand the other points stated here. Because of this, I have made a good quote that everybody can work with.

I can work with this description, but there is one other opinion I need to settle before I conclude this discussion. What should be done with planetary systems? In the case of the GJ 876 system, some two planets show more reference in having a space, while the other planets shows more reference on having no space. What should be done with this? — NuclearVacuum 16:34, 31 July 2008 (UTC)

Did you file an RFC for this? As this proposal has been up for only a week, and you only informed one wikiproject, participants will likely only include those who check WP:ASTRO in frequent amounts. I'd hope for proposals to stay open for atleast a month, if not three. (talk) 05:57, 2 August 2008 (UTC)


  1. ^ According to references, the name "HD 160691 b" is in more use over the name "Mu Arae b". But because the consensus for naming star articles require that the star's article be named by its Bayer designation, the planet (in turn) is titled Mu Arae b.

I received an e-mail from the IAU[edit]

I know this is very irrelevant and stupid to continue this discussion, but I just received an e-mail from Vivien Reuter (an IAU Secretariat).

NuclearVacuum 15:11, 16 September 2008 (UTC)

Related Discussion On Kepler-22b Talk Page.[edit]

FWIW - A related "Extrasolar Planet Naming" discussion is on the Kepler-22b Talk Page - in any case - Enjoy! :) Drbogdan (talk) 21:17, 11 December 2011 (UTC)