Can We Perform A Naming Ceremony To A Star? - Can We Really Name A Star?
Star! A tiny lightspot from the distance and a big lighthouse from up close. The biggest star has a name - SUN. And some of the other stars include Sirius, Vega, Arcturus, Altair, Canopus and so on. NASA says that there are billions of stars across millions of galaxies. We too can see about thousands of stars in the sky above us. Yes we can see thousands of them. Count them if you doubt it!
Although there exists many stars, only a few of those are named. So can we, as individuals or as business entities name any star with the name of our loved one or the name of our brand?
Naming A Star? Really?
Joke : You can give any name to any un-named star in the galaxy. Wait until it is night, climb up to your house terrace, look up to the sky, pick any star and shout out a name. Congrats. You have just named a star!
But no. It is not that easy. May be you gave a name to the star, but it is not considered to be 'official'.
The International Astronomical Union is the one responsible for naming them. Over the past century, various IAU working groups comprised of astronomers from around the world have standardized nomenclature for constellations, surface features on the Moon, planets, planetary satellites, and small bodies; planetary satellites, asteroids, and objects outside the Solar System.
According to an official statement given by IAU, "The IAU frequently receives requests from individuals who wants to buy stars or name stars after other persons. Some commercial enterprises purport to offer such services for a fee. However, such 'names' have no formal or official validity whatsoever. Similar rules on buying names apply to star clusters and galaxies as well. For bodies in the Solar System, special procedures for assigning official names apply but in no case are commercial transactions involved.
The names approved by the IAU represent the consensus of professional astronomers around the world and national science academies, who adhere to the guidelines of the International Astronomical Union.
So Is It Really Not Possible?
In the past, certain 'enterprises' have suggested to customers that the IAU is somehow associated with, recognizes, approves, or even actively collaborates in their business. It is not true and IAU stressed the same many times. As an international scientific organization, the IAU dissociates itself entirely from the commercial practice of "selling" fictitious star names, surface feature names, or real estate on other planets or moons in the Solar System.
But what if you found an enterprise that boasts of naming a star if you pay some money? All you get is an expensive piece of paper and a temporary feeling of happiness. So it is not true and it is not possible to name stars for any individual, entity or a brand outside the IAU.