Wikipedia talk:Notability (astronomical objects)

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Catalogues of high historical importance (eg. New General Catalgue)[edit]

This phrase has been in the page since the first draft. I would like to propose that it is removed or modified, at the very least that a better example is found. There are around 8,000 objects in the NGC, a high proportion of them utterly non-notable. There has been a flurry of completely pointless stubs recently (eg NGC 6120) that should probably just be deleted, but all NGC objects are automatically considered notable according to this page. I'm struggling to think of a catalogue of high historical importance where we really would want an article about every entry, but if anyone has any ideas. Lithopsian (talk) 19:57, 25 June 2016 (UTC)

The completest catalogue I found is {{Caldwell catalogue}} (100% on WP), but it doesn't satisfy the 'high historical importance' criteria.   ~ Tom.Reding (talkdgaf)  13:13, 27 June 2016 (UTC)
I propose to replace New General Catalogue with Messier Catalogue since it is the best example I could think of for a historical catalogue where every entry really should be automatically considered notable (the Bright Star Catalogue is already quoted in section 1). Then obviously drop Messier Catalogue from the previous clause. I'd like consensus to be positive rather than negative, so do pipe up. Lithopsian (talk) 15:36, 5 July 2016 (UTC)
I would oppose that, if only because all NGC objects should have entries and its more or less the best kind of 'historical/high importance' catalogue we have in mind for comparisons. Messier is way more important than NGC, but we want NGC-like levels of importance for notability. When you fall below the NGC, then it's where you might not be a super selective catalogue as far as the notability of individual items are concerned. If you're above the NGC, then you're in no questions about it. Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 15:40, 5 July 2016 (UTC)

Athletics ???[edit]

Can somebody explain why "athletics" is listed here: Please consider notable and demonstrable effects on culture, society, entertainment, athletics, economies, history, literature, science, or education. How in the world could an astronomical object have effects on athletics? And why is such a specific field listed along such broad categories as society and entertainment, which subsume it anyway? I thought it was a joke edit and was going to remove it without discussion, but it dates back from this 2011 edit by Astrocog. — Gamall Wednesday Ida (t · c) 14:30, 4 December 2016 (UTC)

This recent edit by Rolf h nelson gets rid of the offending material, so I guess that answers the question... — Gamall Wednesday Ida (t · c) 14:20, 5 December 2016 (UTC)

Might a more liberal policy be adopted for including asteroid articles on the basis of the cultural importance of their names?[edit]

Current policy on this Wikiproject is this:

"(i.e. the notability of the asteroid is not inherited from its notable namesake)."

Might I gently suggest revising this policy? The scenario I've been thinking about is this:

Famous person (artist, statesman, whatever) is honored by having an asteroid named after him. This is widely considered a great honor (for instance, the cartoonist Randall Munroe seems to have felt almost overwhelmed with gratitude when he received it). So, it's certainly worth putting a mention of the asteroid into the article about the famous person. But what about the asteroid itself? I submit that some readers of the article about the famous person might react, "Oh really? What asteroid? How big is it? Where does it orbit?", etc., and that it is reasonable for WP to satisfy this curiosity. But details like perihelions surely do not belong in a biographical article. Thus, I submit it is reasonable for WP to run articles on asteroids to serve as a kind of back-up when a person of note is given the honor of becoming an asteroid namesake.

If curious for a real example, please consult 7387 Malbil and its history page. In response to my request, editor Rfassbind very kindly both restored the article (which had briefly been deleted) and then improved it substantially. I think the resulting article would fully satisfy the curiosity of a fan of Malcolm Bilson, while not overburdening our article about Bilson himself.

With regard to might be a possible general policy, I suggest something like this:

"==Asteroids in their cultural context=="
Some asteroids are unimportant with regard to their astronomical characteristics but more important for the role they play in human culture or society. For instance, asteroids named for individual persons constitute a permanent and meaningful honor for those individuals; and the naming practices of astronomers who discovered many asteroids often offers a reflection of their times and personal tastes.[1] Thus, it is permissible to include a separate article on individual asteroids that bear some cultural connection of this kind, provided the connection is clearly laid out.

I am curious if this might pass muster with the experts who currently oversee WP's asteroid coverage. Thanks for listening. Opus33 (talk) 21:41, 12 March 2017 (UTC)


  1. ^ One example is Max Wolf's repeated use of the names of operatic heroines, some of them for operas seldom sung today.
Surely this falls under WP:NOTINHERITED? Just because it's named after a famous person doesn't make it famous itself. And if it really is notable, it will pass WP:GNG anyway. So we don't need special pleading to carve out an exception for treating these mostly-non-notable objects differently than others. —David Eppstein (talk) 22:01, 12 March 2017 (UTC)
No. Wikipedia has a long-standing rule that notability is not inherited, for very good reasons. Anyone interested in the properties of those non-notable asteroids can look them up in suitable databases (e.g. JPL). It would not improve this encyclopaedia to add thousands of sub-stubs on non-notable rocks just because someone famous was given a certificate referring to it. Besides, this is a guideline about astronomical notability; if an object is notable for cultural reasons the WP:GNG applies. Modest Genius talk 11:37, 20 March 2017 (UTC)
This is why we have List of minor planets named after people. Descriptions can be expanded. -- Kheider (talk) 21:03, 13 April 2017 (UTC)

Time for at least a one-liner about exoplanets?[edit]

Probably more new articles are being created about exoplanets than any other type of astronomical objects, perhaps more than all the rest combined. Maybe this guide should say at least something about them. The four guidelines about naked-eye visibility, inclusion in catalogues of interest to amateur astronomers, multiple non-trivial published works etc., fail to apply to any except a scant handful, and known before 1850 is of course a non-starter. On the other hand, the implicit assumption that "every exoplanet is notable" needs to be put to bed. There has been one attempt to create a separate guide to notability for exoplanets, but the RfC was declined with the decision to add a section here. Hasn't happened. Not really my field, but surely someone can come up with something? Lithopsian (talk) 20:22, 19 March 2017 (UTC)

Point 3 of the criteria (multiple none-trivial publications) applies, and rightly so. Any exoplanets which do not meet that threshold should be taken to AfD. In my view there's no need to add an explicit exoplanet criterion, but an exoplanet example would be a good idea. I'm sure we can come up with two suitable exemplars: one notable, one not. Modest Genius talk 11:31, 20 March 2017 (UTC)
I agree with Modest Genius here. No need for a specific criterion, but an example would go a long way. Headbomb {talk / contribs / physics / books} 11:44, 20 March 2017 (UTC)
I've added two examples. Modest Genius talk 11:38, 12 April 2017 (UTC)
So @Headbomb: took my non-notable example and redirected it to the already extant WASP-56. That's well spotted, but the star doesn't meet our criteria either so should be deleted. Or am I applying a different standard here? Modest Genius talk 20:16, 13 April 2017 (UTC)
Well if the star isn't notable, have the article deleted. But if the article exists, it's a good example of what to do with non-notable exoplanets. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 20:24, 13 April 2017 (UTC)
I've prodded WASP-56 for deletion. Pinging @Casliber: who created the original stub. Modest Genius talk 14:59, 19 April 2017 (UTC)
By definition thes systems have been studied in a bit of detail. So I'd say all stars with planetary systems are keepers. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 15:05, 19 April 2017 (UTC)
Which definition would that be? I searched for sources to establish notability for WASP-56b without success. The only remarkable thing about the star is its planet, so it has the same problem. Do you have any evidence of coverage that meets our notability criteria? If not, I'll take it to AfD. Modest Genius talk 15:44, 19 April 2017 (UTC)
No evidence has appeared, so I've prodded the WASP-56 article. Modest Genius talk 11:20, 14 June 2017 (UTC)
I'd forgotten that there was a previous disputed prod, so this is now at AfD instead: Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/WASP-56. Modest Genius talk 12:38, 26 June 2017 (UTC)
This is the whole exoplanet problem that I'm trying to get past. When there were only a handful of exoplanets, it was pretty clear that they were all notable. Now that there are a few thousand, that idea is getting stretched. When our technical abilities reveal that the vast majority of stars have planets, then it becomes obvious that not all of them need a Wikipedia article. Now is the time to draw the line and decide which we should write about. Lithopsian (talk) 15:28, 19 April 2017 (UTC)
My thinking was that most stars with planets would have had at least a couple of references discussing them and their systems in detail...however the material on this one does look slim. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 00:33, 20 April 2017 (UTC)
An example: today I made an article on LHS 1140 with LHS 1140b as a redirect for the planet. There are plenty of non-academic sources for this one. But should the article be on the planet, or the star? The star would not be notable in itself if it were not for the planet. Graeme Bartlett (talk) 01:12, 20 April 2017 (UTC)
I'd say the star as the planet is a component of the star system.Also, the discovery etc. involved observation of the star mainly Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 03:28, 20 April 2017 (UTC)
I'm comfortable with bundling one or more planets into an otherwise non-notable star (system) article, but there are at least one or two voices who would want it the other way round. The exoplanet-specific infobox does include summary stellar information so it doesn't strictly require a star article if there is nothing interesting to say about the star. Lithopsian (talk) 11:08, 20 April 2017 (UTC)
I am sure that by compiling all data one could come up with more info about any star than any of its exoplanets. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 11:30, 20 April 2017 (UTC)
The example of LHS 1140 begs the question of whether stars that are not notable in themselves should have an article only because they have a notable planet. Having a single article under the name of the star is one possibility, but there are already many cases of a star article separate from one or more exoplanet articles. The arrangement of infoboxes should also be considered. There is the almost universal starbox, but separate planetboxes which allow for the inclusion of some information about the star. Which should be used if the article is about a notable exoplanet and non-notable star? Break convention with every other star article? Expand the starbox template? Should we consider "star system" articles to make it clear that exoplanets are included? So many questions... Lithopsian (talk) 21:27, 20 April 2017 (UTC)
Given the issues with WASP-56, which somehow survived AfD, I've swapped it out for another non-notable example: HAT-P-40 b. Modest Genius talk 11:07, 18 July 2017 (UTC)