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Local students compete to name planet and star pair in international challenge

NameExoWorlds2022 Star Chart
IAU OAO/NARIT/M. Tangmatithan
International Astronomical Union
The systems to be named by NameExoWorlds 2022 are among some of the first exoplanet targets of the James Webb Space Telescope. The exoplanets have been discovered through a mix of techniques, mostly via the transit method and direct imaging.

Ten local high school students have a chance to leave their marks on the universe by naming an exoplanet and its host star.

The students from Ke Kula ʻo Nāwahīokalaniʻōpuʻu Iki on Hawaiʻi Island charter school are competing in the International Astronomical Union’s competition to name a distant planet and star pair. They are under the mentorship of the ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo.

The students chose Leimakua for the planet and Kawelo for the star.

The winners of the competition will be decided in the spring. If the students’ submission is selected, the planet and star will be the seventh and eighth celestial objects to have Hawaiian names.

Savannah Harriman-Pote is the energy and climate change reporter.
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