Norway gives Sami names to distant star and planet

Norway gives Sami names to distant star and planet
The new planet is about the same size as Jupiter. Photo: Sven Wedemeyer(UIO)/ NASA.
Norwegians have named a small dwarf star and the planet orbiting it after the Sami words for 'star' and 'heaven', as part of the centenary of the 100th anniversary of the International Astronomical Union (IAU).
From this Tuesday, the star HD 68988, which is 200 light years from earth, will be officially named Násti (star), while the planet HD 68988 will be called Albmi (heaven). 
 
“It's super exciting to hear, and also really nice that it's going to be a Sami name,” said Emma Stefanussen, the high school student who proposed the name, in a press release issued by  Norway's Andøya Space Center. 
 
Stefanussen, who is from Andøya, the northernmost island of the Lofoten archipelago, had the names suggested by an ethnnic Sami friend. 
 
Norway was one of the 116 country's allowed to name new planets and stars in honour of the 100th anniversary of the International Astronomical Union (IAU), the body responsible for naming newly discovered stars and planets. 
 
Ørjan Vøllestad at the Andøya Space Center said that the IAU100 NameExoWorlds competition aimed to increase awareness of new planets around the universe. 
 
“It might be a little crazy for people to think that there are so many other solar systems out there. It may seem quite remote. So this is a way to make people aware,” Ørjan Vøllestad at the Andøya Space Center told Norwegian state broadcaster NRK
 
Vøllestad said he liked the fact that the Sami name was chose out of the 824 proposals.  
 
“I personally find it very exciting that they are Sami. I thought to myself that 'yes! this is a good step in the right direction'.” 
 
NameExoWorlds Project Manager, Eduardo Monfardini Penteado said in a press release that the scheme aimed to engage the public. 
 
“The IAU100 NameExoWorlds campaign provided the public with the exciting opportunity to help with the naming of over 100 new worlds and their stars, and to help the IAU establish a thoughtful naming theme for naming future discoveries in those systems,” he said in a press release
 
In 2019, 112 countries organised national campaigns which engaged 780,000 people worldwide. 

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