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Naming a Star

Star with Diffraction Spikes.jpg

Some dubious companies and organizations claim that they can sell you the right to name a star.  Before dropping your hard-earned dollars, read this first!  By international treaty, official astronomical names of celestial objects may ONLY be assigned by the International Astronomical Union (IAU), which has various standards for naming things.  Any company or organization that claims to be able to sell you naming rights is actually only selling you a piece of certificate paper with your name on it.  Claims that the name will be copyrighted may be true, but only because the spectrum of things that can be copyrighted is broad.  It is possible to copyright and publish your own star name and receive a nice, but meaningless certificate that will have no legal standing in terms of official use.  Even though the company may promise that your named star will appear in a published book, the name you select and pay for will NOT be in use in every observatory in the world; it won’t even be in use in one of them!  Please do not fall for these star-naming scams.


Remember that the night sky is here for all to enjoy.  It has never cost a thing to look up and enjoy the grandeur of the night sky. The stars existed long before any company tried to sell them and will continue to exist long after these companies have ceased to exist.


As an alternative, you might consider getting someone a gift membership in a local astronomy club (see Membership).

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