Illustration: NASA

Denmark to name planet discovered by DTU researcher

Friday 14 Jun 19


Lars A. Buchhave
DTU Space
+45 45 25 96 64

About exoplanet HAT-P-29b

Exoplanet HAT-P-29b is not a planet you can easily visit:

The climate is approximately 1,150°C hot, as it is very close to its host star. It consists of gases—mainly hydrogen and helium—so there is no solid surface. It has a diameter of approximately 155,200 kilometres and is thus just over 12 times larger than Earth. And one ‘year’—i.e. one round trip around its host star—is merely 5 days and 17 hours long. It is located some 1,050 light years away in the Perseus constellation.

Its host star with the catalogue name GSC 3293-01539 or HAT-P-29 is a so-called F8 dwarf star. It is roughly 20 per cent larger and heavier than the Sun. The star is located near the Pegasus constellation. The position is RA 02h 12m 31.00 and Dec 51° 46` 44.00 in Perseus.

Citizens of Denmark are invited to make suggestions for the names of an exoplanet and star discovered in 2008 some 1,000 light years from Earth.

To mark the centenary year of the establishment of the International Astronomical Union (IAU), the organization has decided to let citizens from all over the world make suggestions for the official names of a number of exoplanets and their host stars.

The planet assigned to Denmark was discovered and scientifically described by Astrophysicist Lars Buchhave, Professor at DTU Space and head of the department’s exoplanet research group. It currently holds the not-so-easily pronounceable name of HAT-P-29b. The name of its host star is GSC 3293-01539 or HAT-P-29.

Now all Danes will get the opportunity to come up with better names for them.

“It’s a great idea to let the people come up with suggestions for names, which they can subsequently vote for. It helps increase public interest in space research and in science in general,” says Lars Buchhave.

“We hope that both primary schools and high schools, and, of course, also a lot of other space enthusiasts, will take up the challenge and make suggestions.”

Researchers from DTU Space helped discover a great number of exoplanets. 

An exoplanet is a planet orbiting a star other than the Sun. The research into exoplanets is relatively new in the field.

Up until a few years ago, they were extremely difficult to detect. Partly because they are very far away, and partly because they are relatively faint compared to their host stars.

The first exoplanet was discovered in 1995 and since then many more have been found. 

Exoplanet HAT-P-29b was observed for the first time in 2008 and described in 2011 in the Astrophysical Journal with Lars Buchhave as first author and Astronomer Johannes Andersen from the University of Copenhagen as co-author.

A committee with an insight into space research will select a number of candidates from the incoming suggestions for names.

It will then be up to the people of Denmark to choose the name from the selected candidates through a final vote. And by December, HAT-P-29b and its star should have been given more appealing names.

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