Astronomers have spotted the most Earth-like planet to date, a massive ocean world that probably has an atmosphere and — though it’s highly unlikely — may support life. And it needs a better name.
For now, GJ 1214b is tagged according to standard exoplanetary nomenclature: the technical name of the star it orbits, plus a letter to signify the order of its discovery. (The letter “a” is reserved for the star itself.) It’s a name only a committee could love, and hardly appropriate to the discovery’s emotional resonance.
“We’ve been finding exciting planets for 50 years, and we’re still calling them by these terrible catalog names,” said David Charbonneau, a Harvard University astronomer who helped discover GJ 1214b, but doesn’t even have a nickname for it. “I have three young daughters, and I think they might be inspired by a better name.”
To help David out, we’re asking you to submit your own names for this watery super-Earth. Jump in!
Submit your own name:
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I said Oceanic815 or Bizarro Earth