Your Chance To Name An Asteroid: Radiolab And IAU Launch Global Contest

27th Jun 2024
Your Chance To Name An Asteroid: Radiolab And IAU Launch Global Contest

Have you ever dreamt of contributing to the names of space objects? Here is your chance! The scientific podcast Radiolab, in partnership with the International Astronomical Union, initiated a worldwide contest to name one of Earth’s quasi-moons, the asteroid known as (164207) 2004 GU9. Just in time for Asteroid Day!

The Contest To Name Earth’s Quasi-Moon: Details

The contest will unfold in three phases. The first stage will run from June to September 2024. In October, a panel of judges will review the suggestions and choose 10 finalists. These finalists will then be presented for a public vote in November and December 2024, and the competition winner will be revealed in January 2025.

Who Can Participate In It?

According to Radiolab, anyone aged 18 or older can participate in the contest, except for members of the judging panel, employees of New York Public Radio (NYPR) or the International Astronomical Union (IAU), and their immediate family members or household residents.

What Are The Asteroid Name Requirements?

Names must adhere to the following criteria:

  • Be written in modern Latin script
  • A maximum of 16 characters, with no spaces
  • Derived from a mythological source, which can include myths from any culture, modern myths (including fictional), as well as ancient sources.

Names must not:

  • Already be used for any celestial object, such as a natural satellite (moon), star, planet, exoplanet, or constellation
  • Be your own name, your pet’s name, or a name related to military, political, or business entities
  • Contain a generic word (like “university”) or a number
  • Be any of the following types of mythological names, which are reserved for outer solar system objects:
  1. Related to creation myths
  2. Associated with the Trojan War as described in Homer’s Iliad
  3. Associated with the Amazonian warriors depicted in numerous Greek epic poems

How Can I Participate?

To participate, submit your original name proposal for the Earth quasi-moon selected by the IAU, along with the required eligibility information, via the submission form between 1st June 2024, at 4 AM UTC and 30th September 2024, at 11:59 PM UTC.

No purchase or pledge is necessary to enter or win.

What Is A Quasi-Moon?

Quasi-moons are also known as quasi-satellites. They are actually asteroids that orbit the Sun in a path similar to Earth’s. Because of their movement, they look like they are orbiting Earth when viewed from our planet. Some examples of quasi-moons are 2006 FV35, 2013 LX28, 2014 OL339, 469219 Kamoʻoalewa, 2020 PP1, and 2023 FW13.

Asteroid (164207) 2004 GU9

(164207) 2004 GU9 is a small asteroid, less than a kilometer in size, classified as a near-Earth object and a potentially hazardous asteroid in the Apollo group. It will remain a quasi-satellite of Earth until around the year 2600.

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