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Malta gets the chance to name a distant planet

Malta has been given an amazing opportunity to name a planet in deep space.

The name will be chosen from nominations from the public and after a public vote.

The new planet could be called anything from ‘Mdina’ to ‘Valletta’ or ‘Ghawdex’ or even ‘Mela’. The choice is yours.

The planet Malta will get to name is a gas giant currently known as HAT-P-34 b.

Discovered in 2011, it is located ar0und 840 light years away and is slightly larger than Jupiter.

The initiative is to celebrate 100 years since the founding of the International Astronomical Union.

Debra Elmegreen from the society said: ‘This is a unique opportunity for Malta to give a name to a planet.

‘Imagine a planet out there that you have named and will be called that name for all time.

‘This competition helps us understand our place in the Universe as we explore together other worlds outside of our own.

‘The Name ExoWorld initiative reminds us that we are all together under one sky.’

How to take part in the planet naming contest?

Between September and October 2019, the Maltese public will have a chance to propose their names.

The finalists will be chosen by a panel of experts in October and reduced to a small pool of candidates.

Then in November 2019, a public vote on the finalists will select the winner, which will be announced in December 2019.

For more information, check out the Astronomical Society of Malta.