When you’ve run out of unique and interesting ideas for gift giving this year, consider the possibility of naming a star. The International Star Registry, amongst other star ‘sellers’, offers a complete naming kit to showcase your personalized coordinate. The sky’s the limit with your options designed to customize this gift in memory, or as a gift to a friend or family member. There are dozens of companies offering this service, and many stargazers and astronomers are eager to get on board. However, none of these companies actually have exclusive ownership of the stars found in Earth’s galaxy.
The International Astronomical Unioin is the only organization that ‘owns’ exclusive rights to star names, and it has a comprehensive database of the brightest stars in our skies; these include Sirius, Canopus, and Alpha Centauri. These ancient stars have been studied by astronomers, historians, and star-gazing hobbyists for decades.
Many companies that have caught onto the trend of star naming and ‘buying’ have had some troubles with verifying their naming strategies. Most are ‘unofficial’ in the sense that they are not formally recorded or tracked in any way; especially by the U.S. government, databanks, and libraries. However, services provided by the International Star Registry are actually compiled into a book, ‘Your Place in the Cosmos,’ that extends a copyright on its contents. This makes your purchase an exclusive one, but will not necessarily make your unique star name into history books or text anytime soon!
Still, the trend and unique opportunity to name a star, (officially or unofficially) has a dream-like, magical quality about it. Think of the joy of offering a gift of a name star, complete with a certificate and coordinates of location. It may even serve as an opportunity to encourage further star gazing, astronomy, or inquiry into the world of the night sky. Prices range from the International Star Registry range from $54-$137 depending on custom or deluxe packages. The certificates are beautifully framed and include a listing in the published book, and a wallet card with coordinates; information is available from the International Star Gift Registry.
Another opportunity for naming Earth’s celestial properties may be found in naming asteroids. Pop culture artist names such as Frank Zappa and Ringo Starr have already been bought on board with each name served by the International Astronomical Union Small Bodies Names Committee. This committee reviews and administers naming of asteroids at various celestial points in the Earth’s sphere. The names are submitted through a suggestion process, and voting is usually involved.
Whether you’re a star gazer, astronomer, or cosmos enthusiast, naming a star may be a great opportunity to stake your claim in nature. Enjoy a variety of possibilities ith companies and registries; or send out a name request for an asteroid to the International Astronomical Union. Whatever avenue you choose, you’ll be contributing to a growing trend of celestial ownership!