UK ExoWorld Competition 2019
In celebration of its 100th anniversary, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) is giving young people across the UK the opportunity to name an exoplanet and the star it orbits.
What is an exoplanet?
An exoplanet is a planet orbiting a star that is not our Sun, a planet outside of our solar system. Thousands of exoplanets have been found using telescopes, and it is estimated that there are hundreds of billions in our galaxy.
This animated clip explains how planets outside our solar system are difficult to see because they get lost in the glare of the star they orbit.
Which planet will the winner name?
The planet is currently named WASP-13b, and it orbits the star WASP-13. This exoplanet is about a third of the mass of Jupiter and takes just four days to orbit its host star. It was discovered in 2009 by an international team led by British astronomers.
WASP-13 is over 740 light-years from Earth and is similar to the Sun, although it is likely to be larger, hotter and older.
How to get involved
Between September and October 2019, children of all ages from schools and youth organisations in the UK can suggest names for this exoplanet.
- Friday 18 October 2019: deadline for entries
- Mid-November: general public invited to vote on shortlisted names
- Mid-December: winning names will be announced
Exoplanet teaching resources
Bring the context of exoplanets to life in your classroom with help from these hands-on activities.
Nine practical activities based upon the search for exoplanets, where life may exist. Aimed at 7-11-year-olds, activities are based around working scientifically and link to many aspects of the science curriculum.
From understanding how the day, night and seasons differ on other planets to investigating how astronomers detect exoplanets, these five activities each take around 40 minutes to complete and can be used in lessons or as part of a science club.
More exoplanet resources are available by searching the ESERO-UK collection.