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News: Planet Poltergeist

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The International Astronomical Union has announced the names of a slew of exoplanets and stars as chosen by worldwide public ballot. Enter exoplanet Poltergeist, as nominated by an Italian group. Also new to the nomenclature galaxy is the star Cervantes (Spain) and the exoplanet Galileo (Netherlands). The IAU writes:

The votes are in — the names of 19 ExoWorlds (14 stars and 31 exoplanets orbiting them) have been chosen by public vote in the NameExoWorlds contest, and accepted by the IAU. Reflecting the truly international interest in astronomy, over half a million votes from 182 countries and territories contributed to the new official designations of the alien worlds.

Although people have been naming celestial objects for millennia, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) is the authority responsible for assigning official names to celestial bodies. The NameExoWorlds contest provided the first opportunity for the public to name exoplanets, and their stars. The winning names are to be used freely in parallel with the existing scientific nomenclature, with due credit to the clubs or organisations that proposed them.

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