This is your chance to name a planet

Partners Science

By Cydeni Carter

PHOENIX – Over 10 years ago, the largest unnamed dwarf planet in our solar system was discovered. Since then, they have not given it a name.

Currently, they identify it as 2007 OR10, but astronomers are looking for help to name it. They discovered it in 2007 in the Kuiper Belt orbiting the Sun further than Neptune and it has a rocky, icy surface, and when the sunlight hits the methane ice, it appears with a reddish tint.

There are three options you can choose from when voting, Vili, Gonggong and Holle.

The names all play off the icy red surface it has. The name Vili is a Nordic deity who defeated a frost giant Ymir and used his body to create the universe. The name Gongong is Mandarin and references a Chinese water god who has red hair and even a serpent-like tail. The name Holle is a German fairy tale character connected with the Yuletide (winter solstice) season characterized by evergreen plants growing red berries.

The three astronomers who are involved in the identification are Meg Schwamb, Mike Brown and David Rabinowitz of Caltech’s Palomar Observatory in San Diego. 

To vote for your favorite name, click here. Voting ends May 10, 2019 and the winning name will be passed on to the International Astronomical Union (IAU) for final consideration.

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