Name a whole world
The International Astronomical Union (IAU) calls on all people living in South Africa to name the planet WASP-62 b and its host star WASP-62. This is your chance to name a whole world. Both individuals and groups have suggested names, and you may now vote for your favourite. Voting is open until 14 November 2019.
South Africa has an important relationship to WASP-62 b: The planet was discovered by SuperWASP, one of the telescopes near the town of Sutherland in the Northern Cape.
Vote for your Favourite
The shortlist of names for WASP-62 b and its host star is given in the next section. You can cast your vote for your favorite from the list at
Voting is open until 14 November 2019.
Krotoa is considered a Mother of Africa, she suffered adversity and abuse but played an important role at the time of the arrival of the settlers. She deserves to be honoured in this way as it is most befitting to her.
Naledi is a beautiful name it means star in Sesotho. Marries well with Krotoa and serves as a shining light to all humanity, especially women. Important at this time as women are taking a beating literally and figuratively!
The theme chosen is fynbos of South Africa, as they are almost as numerous as the stars and as beautiful – a reflection of above so to speak.
Our fynbos is unique and diverse with broad applications – much like the South African people. Plants in the Sutherland area were concentrated on.
“Diverse people unite”, that is the motto on our coat of arms. This naming scheme celebrates South African diversity by naming the planets after traditional South African dances, as the diverse planets unite in dancing around their star. ‘Ingoma’ is a popular dance in the Zulu tradition performed at important transition events in the person’s life. This dance, associated with transitions, is also appropriate for the name of the first exoplanet as it is reminiscent of the technique used to detect the planet orbiting its own star. The star, named ‘Ubunye’, meaning ‘unity’ in the isiZulu language, indicates that South Africans are united in our cause, while still being able to celebrate our unique and diverse cultural heritages.
Future exoplanets orbiting ‘Ubunye’ can be named after traditional dances from our various other cultures, expanding on the theme of “diverse people unite”.
The Roggeveld mountain range is near Sutherland and we feel that the place where the WASP-62 System was discovered should be celebrated in the name.
The Gannaga pass is one of the passes crossing the mountain range and is fitting, as the detection of WASP-62b was obtained by the planet’s path crossing the star.
WASP-62 b is giant gas planet with a diameter which is about 1.3 times that of Jupiter. This means you could fit roughly 1000 Earths in it! It orbits its parent star, WASP-62, every 4.4 days.
The distance between star and planet is only 1/17-th of that between the Earth and our Sun. Therefore WASP-62 b is too hot for liquid water to exist, and one has to assume there can be no life on it.
WASP-62 b is located in the constellation Dorado. It was discovered in 2012 by the SuperWASP telescope in Sutherland as it periodically blocks out a tiny fraction of WASP-62 as it moves in front of the star.