By Esma Kucuksahin
KAYSERI, Turkey (AA) - Turkey has chosen the names for a far-flung planet and its local star, said a Turkish astronomer on Tuesday.
In June, Turkey got the naming rights to the star known as WASP-52 as well as its exoplanet, WASP-52-B, under a campaign by the International Astronomical Union (IAU).
Turkey named the star Anadolu (Anatolia, the Turkish heartland) and the exoplanet Gokturk (Sky Turk, also the name of a groundbreaking medieval Turkish khanate), according to Ibrahim Kucuk, head of the Turkish Astronomical Society.
Kucuk said that member countries were given the naming rights to stars easily observable from the capital city -- in this case, Ankara -- even through small telescopes.
The star Anadolu, some 457 light years from Turkey, will be observable from spring to fall.
Noting that the naming campaign lasted over three months, he added that the names will be announced to the world in a meeting held at the Paris Observatory.
“The [naming] campaign got widespread international participation. Over 360,000 suggestions were made from around the world,” Kucuk said.
“There were nearly 300 name suggestions in Turkey,” he added, including ones from schools, universities, and science centers across the country.
He also said that they would give a telescope to the schools which suggested the chosen names.
For its 100th anniversary commemorations, the International Astronomical Union organized the NameExoWorlds global campaign to allow “any country in the world to give a popular name to a selected exoplanet and its host star,” according to the group’s website.
The Turkish Astronomical Society serves as the local representative of the international group.
*Contributions and writing by Sena Guler