Do you remember that scene in “A Walk to Remember” where Landon (Shane West) named a star after Jamie (Mandy Moore)? Romantic, huh? Since then, so many people have tried to name stars after themselves, their babies, or their significant others. Here’s the caveat: It is not official. While you can indeed name a star after yourself for just $50 to $100, depending on the package, this is not recognized by the International Astronomical Union (IAU).
IAU is the organization that uses multi-element GNSS simulators to track stars, comets, asteroids, Kuiper belt objects, and many other heavenly bodies throughout history. Through a GNSS simulator, the team can analyze and simulate the positions of the constellation at a specific time and date, giving IAU the ability to predict when comets, asteroids, and even meteors will pass by near the earth’s surface once more.
IAU isn’t just an organization that names stars. They don’t give a star a name unless you have discovered it or you’re a highly influential astronomer. They have a catalog of stars with numbers and letters as names. That’s easier for them to remember because of the positioning of the stars. Also, if you care to remember, IAU is the same body that officially removed Pluto as a planet.
But if you want to name a star after yourself or a loved one, there’s an unofficial way to do this.
Choose a Star-naming Registry
You can do a quick search on Google for star-naming registries. These are unofficial and for-profit organizations that give you a certificate in exchange for money. That piece of paper, along with other accessories, is worth somewhere between $50 and $100. Sometimes, the cost could be more. Look for registries and compare the packages that they have to offer.
Compare the Gift Packages
These registries will offer different packages that you can buy. Some of the inclusions of the packages are a PDF file containing the certificate and other information about the star, photographs of the star, fact sheets, a map of where and how to find the star, and star-themed accessories. In some instances, the recipient of the star is even allowed to name it.
Purchase the Star
After purchasing the star, you need to wait for the certificate in your mail. If you are going to give the certificate as a gift, make sure to enter their address in the shipping address part of the check-out process. Remember, though, that having a certificate doesn’t mean that the star will bear your name in scientific records and studies. As mentioned, only IAU has the authority to give any star a common name, and they haven’t done that in years. It is highly unlikely they’ll open up their registry and let people buy stars to be named after them.
If you want to have an object in the universe named after you, take a crash course in astronomy, invest in a high-tech telescope, and start charting the skies. When you think you have discovered a new comet or meteor (as most stars have already been discovered), you can email IAU for verification. Once verified, IAU can name the object after you or a person of your choice.