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Let’s Name Some Planets

“There’s no way the public should have to remember these names,” said Francois Fressin of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, lead author of the study announcing the discovery of Kepler-20e and Kepler-20f. “I’m working like 15 hours a day on Kepler, and I’m not sure I could tell you which one is each of the Kepler planets.”

Exoplanet researchers could work together to develop a coherent naming system, one with consistent rules or guidelines, Fressin suggested. As an example of such a system, he pointed to the planets of our own solar system, all of which except Earth are named for Greek or Roman gods.

“If we start doing that with more accessible names, it would be a plus,” Fressin told

It’s been one day since it was announced that two new Earth-sized planets were found, a first, and the backlash against their names has already begun. Let’s think of better ones? If we keep going with the gods thing, my vote is for Hermes and Phrike. Phrike!


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