Help to name the largest unnamed world in our solar system

More than a decade ago, three astronomers discovered a smaller planet orbiting the Sun beyond Neptune.

Now they need your help to name it.

To avoid another situation of Boaty McBoatface, the team, Meg Schwamb, Mike Brown and David Rabinowitz, pre-selected a trio of titles that meet the requirements of the International Astronomical Union (IAU).

"Because to name the world with no bigger name [otherwise known as (225088) 2007 OR10] In our solar system is a big decision, we would like you to help us, "said the website.

  • Gonggong (Mandarin): a Chinese water god often depicted with red hair and the tail of a dragon. He is seen as destructive, and he is blamed for cosmic catastrophes, including floods and Earth tilt.
  • Holle (German): a German fairytale character established as a goddess by the Brothers Grimm. She is connected to the world of spirits through the magic of spinning and weaving, and is linked to the Yuletide season.
  • Vili (Nordic): A Nordic deity who, along with his brothers Vé and Odin, defeated the frost giant Ymir and used Ymir's body to create the universe.

Cast your vote online before 11:59 p.m. PDT on May 10 (2:59 a.m. EST on May 11).

The orbit of the planetoid, discovered in July 2007 as part of the Survey of the Distant Solar System of Palomar, places it among the more than 3,000 known objects of the Kuiper belt (KBO).

Star trails and the Samuel Oschin Telescope at the Palomar Observatory in California (through Palomar / Caltech)

Probably a mixture of ice and rock, the cosmic orb has large amounts of pure water ice; it is believed that this reddish tone comes from the irradiation of traces of methane ice on its surface.

So why name the planet now, a dozen years after it was first discovered?

"We know it's been a long wait," the astronomers wrote in a frequent question. "We always wanted to have some kind of public participation in the 2007 OR10 denomination, but we also wanted to know more about the object to give it a name that fits."

The researchers specifically selected deities linked to the color red, the theme of the inner turn outward, or the water / snow ice "to connect the presumed past of crovolcanism that covers 2007 OR10 with water ice," they explained.

"We also look for suggestions for names that have connections to other mythological creatures and deities that could be used as names for the 2007 OR10 moon," said the FAQ section.

Participants can vote more than once, but they are urged to advocate for only two names per day, so as not to tip the balance unfairly.

The results will be announced "quickly" after the voting ends, and will be formally presented for consideration by the IAU.

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