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Out of this world - Cronk-y-Berry School pupils win exoplanet naming comp

Tue, 17 Dec 2019

School pupils at Cronk-y-Berry School have won a UK competition to name an exoplanet and its host star.

Following a public vote, the Manx names ‘Cruinlagh’ and Gloas’ are the official names of the Lynx constellation and star.
The global competition launched by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) celebrated its 100th anniversary, with  schools and youth organisations across the country invited to suggest new names.
The UK arm of the competition has been led by Professor Robert Walsh, professor of astrophysics at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan). 
Class 4/5G of Cronk y Berry Primary School proposed the names Cruinlagh (pronounced crunlack) and Gloas (pronounced glowas) which are Manx Gaelic words meaning ‘orbit’ and ‘shine’, describing the physical processes of the exoplanet and star.
The final UK names were selected from over 1,000 individual suggestions, submitted by more than 10,000 young people across the country. 
The UK’s designated exoplanet, previously referred to as WASP-13b, is a large, gaseous planet about a third of the size of Jupiter. Its host star, known as WASP-13, is over 740 light years from Earth and larger, hotter and older than our own Sun.
Over 360,000 names were submitted in total, and over 400,000 votes were cast around the world to decide on the final names. 
Professor Robert Walsh, professor of astrophysics at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) and UK national outreach coordinator for the IAU, was responsible for overseeing the UK arm of the IAU competition. 
He said: ‘The quality of suggestions was truly exceptional, and it was great to see young minds across the country engaging with science in a new and novel way. The chosen names have had some real thought put into them and I’m thrilled that the talented class of Cronk y Berry Primary School have truly made their mark on the universe – something that they can cherish for years to come.’
Tina Graham, teacher of class 4/5G at Cronk y Berry Primary School said: ‘This competition was an amazing opportunity to get our pupils thinking about what exists beyond our own Solar System. To find out that our names are the ones that the public has chosen for the planet and star is truly mind blowing. It’s testament to the creativity and talent of the entire class and we’re incredibly proud that a piece of our culture, language and history has now made its way across the stars.’


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