Finally, the problem of exoplanet naming is being addressed … but how well?

NELSON-LEITH-eclipseThe July-August issue of Discover tackles the current, confusing naming convention for planets outside our solar system. They go through the pros and cons of several possible plans for the future, including the existing scientific designations, various mythologies, a taxonomical method, and a sort of popularity contest model where the public votes on names. You can see a little taste of the article online but you need a subscription (or a paper copy) to read the entire piece.

However, after review, I have to say that none of the plans outlined in Discover is as simple, comprehensive, or sustainable as my “Proposal for the Naming and Reference of Extrasolar Planets.” They all like a familiar, intuitive means of specifying planets, and those that have layman-friendly names run the risk of being unsustainable. Take a look at my plan and let me know what you think.

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