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You Can Now Help Name a New Planet

If you've ever wanted a say in naming a newly discovered planet, well, now you have it.

Researchers at the Palomar Observatory in San Diego, California discovered a brand new planet in the furthest reaches of our solar system nearly 12 years ago. The relatively small, ice-covered planet has been studied by astronomers ever since, and now that enough data has been gathered it's time to give it a name.

The planet is currently going by the less-than-sexy title of (225088) 2007 OR10, but the researchers are now preparing to submit an official name to the International Astronomical Union (IAU) for consideration. And they're turning to the public to help them pick one out.

In the interest of avoiding another Boaty McBoatface debacle, however, the scientists aren't letting you submit any name you like. They've put together a list of three options that meet the IAU's naming regulations and each of them are a reference to a mythological figure.

The first option comes from the Chinese water god Gonggong, who has "red hair and a serpent-like tail. He is known for creating chaos, causing flooding, and tilting the Earth."

Next up is Holle, "a European winter goddess of fertility, rebirth, and women. Holle makes snow by shaking out her bed. She is a patroness of household crafts especially spinning. She is linked to the Yuletide (winter solstice) season associated with mistletoe and holly, evergreen plants bearing red berries."

And finally, we've got the Norse god Vili rounding out the roster.

"Vili, together with his brothers Odin and Vé, defeated frost giant Ymir and used Ymir's body to create the universe. Ymir's flesh and bones were forged into the Earth, with Ymir's blood becoming the rivers and oceans."

So if you're interested in helping name a new planet (and why wouldn't you be?) you've got until May 10 to cast your vote.

h/t Digital Trends


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