Astronomical institute seeks Thai names for planet, star confirmed this year

The invitation is extended to submit Thai names for the star GJ 3470 and the planet GJ 3470b that orbits it.

The Nation

The Nation



September 9, 2022


The contest is part of the International Astronomical Union’s (IAU) “NameExoWorlds 2022” campaign to name planets and stars outside the solar system that have been discovered or confirmed so far this year.

NARIT’s exoplanet researcher Suphachai Awiphan said on Thursday that the institute is inviting people to submit Thai names for the star GJ 3470 and the planet GJ 3470b that orbits it.

Participants must explain the relation between both names in 3-4 sentences. Each name must be able to be transcribed in English in 4-16 characters.

Names can be submitted now until October 7 via

NARIT will select 10 pairs from participants, who must compete in the final round by presenting the concept behind their names. Then two sets will be picked for people to vote on online. The winning names will be submitted to the IAU, which will officially announce them in March 2023.

Suphachai said the star and planet were first discovered in 2012, but their status has been confirmed only this year by Thai astronomers via the transit method from the 2.4-metre-diameter telescope at the Thai National Observatory in Doi Inthanon National Park, Chiang Mai.

GJ 3470b is a hot Neptune-like planet orbiting an M dwarf star located in the constellation of Cancer, about 95.9 light years from the Solar system. GJ 3470b’s mass is 14 times that of the Earth and orbits around its GJ 3470 star in 3.3 days. Its atmosphere is blue in colour and comprises hydrogen, helium and water molecules.

Suphachai noted that this year is also a special occasion, as it is the 10th anniversary of the Thai National Observatory, which features the biggest telescope in Southeast Asia.

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