Science & Technology

How are planets named?

Let's find out how a minor planet was named after Indian classical singer Pandit Jasraj

Published: Thursday 03 October 2019

After a minor planet was named after Indian classical singer Pandit Jasraj, we wondered how planets get their names?

Minor planets, which are celestial objects in the solar system, are neither planets nor comets. The discoverer can name the planet till 10 years after discovery. Celestial bodies are named by a 15-member Working Group for Small Body Nomenclature of the International Astronomical Union. After the first sighting, micro planets are given a provisional number.

This number includes the year of discovery, two letters of the alphabet and two numbers. The planet is given a permanent number after at least four sightings. And then, the discoverer is eligible to name them.

Names of pets and those commercial in nature are restricted. Also, those of military and political leaders can only be proposed after 100 years of their death. Other famous Indians like Rabindranath Tagore and Viswanathan Anand also have minor planets named after them.

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