Bhutan NameExoWorlds Project Result

100 000s of People from 110+ Countries Select Names for Exoplanet Systems In Celebration of IAU’s 100th Anniversary

On 17 December 2019 the names of 110+ sets of exoplanets and host stars named in the IAU100 NameExoWorlds campaigns were announced at a press conference in Paris (France). Within the framework of the International Astronomical Union’s 100th anniversary commemorations (IAU100) in 2019, 110+ countries organised national campaigns that stimulated the direct participation of over 780 000 people worldwide, who proposed and selected names for each exoplanet and its host star.

A National Committee for NameExoWorlds Project (for Bhutan) was formed comprising gender balanced committee members. The national campaign in Bhutan was conducted in two phases coordinated by the Department of IT and Telecom, Ministry of Information and Communications:

Phase 1: Name collection from the public from 16-20 November 2019;
Phase 2: Public voting of the down-selected names from 21 November 2019 to 25 November 2019 (till 9 a.m BST).

The announcement for the project was published via print media, TV broadcasts, and social media platforms.

A total of 39 pairs of names were received from which 8 pairs of names were down-selected by the National Committee on 21 November 2019 and put up for public voting at

The National Committee for NameExoWorlds project met again on 25th November 2019 to select the top three names voted by the public.

A total of 531 public votes were received.

Bhutan’s approved proposal winning names by IAU are as given below for the planet HD73534b (Drukyul) orbiting the star HD73534 (Gakyid) in the constellation of Cancer:

Name of the star: Gakyid

Citation for star: Gakyid means happiness. Gross National Happiness is the development philosophy conceived and followed in Bhutan and is one of Bhutan's contributions to the world.

Name of the planet: Drukyul

Citation for planet: Drukyul (land of the thunder dragon) is the native name for Bhutan, the country that came up with the philosophy of Gross National Happiness.

Names of Dzongkha language terms associated with happiness and symbols of the national identity of Bhutan, birthplace of the Gross National Happiness development philosophy.

The winning names were proposed by master Dron Chhetri, a class 9 student of Motithang Higher Secondary School.

The IAU100 NameExoWorlds project saw massive and widespread participation around the world, as the public eagerly engaged in this exciting opportunity to suggest meaningful, creative and unique names for exoplanet systems for their respective countries. This is only the second time in history that a campaign has led to the naming of stars and exoplanets. Overall, 360 000 proposals for names were received from 110+ countries. The National Committee in each country reduced their proposals to a shortlist of national candidates, which were presented to the public for their votes. A total of 420 000 people voted for their preferred candidates. This project will have a lasting impact, as the winning names will be used in parallel with the existing scientific nomenclature, credited to the person, group or institution that suggested them.

The IAU100 NameExoWorlds global project was conceived to create awareness of our place in the Universe and to reflect on how the Earth would potentially be perceived by a civilisation on another planet. As the IAU is the authority responsible for assigning official designations and names to celestial bodies, the IAU100 celebrations in 2019 were used as a special occasion to offer every country the chance to name one planetary system, comprising an exoplanet and its host star. IAU100 NameExoWorlds Project Manager, Eduardo Monfardini Penteado said “The IAU100 NameExoWorlds campaign provided the public with the exciting opportunity to help with the naming of over 100 new worlds and their stars, and to help the IAU establish a thoughtful naming theme for naming future discoveries in those systems.”

Each nation's designated star for naming is visible from that country, and is sufficiently bright to be observed through small telescopes. The respective National Committees, following the methodology and guidelines set up by the IAU100 NameExoWorlds Steering Committee, were the bodies responsible for establishing the conditions for public participation, disseminating the project in the country and developing a voting system.

“The IAU is delighted to see the broad international interest that this NameExoWorlds campaign has generated,” noted IAU President-elect Debra Elmegreen. “It is gratifying that so many people across the globe have helped create a name for a planetary system that is meaningful to their culture and heritage. This effort helps unite us all in our exploration of the Universe.”

The NameExoWorlds project was organised within the framework of the IAU’s 100th anniversary in 2019. With over 5000 activities in 140 countries, millions of people around the world are celebrating the astronomical breakthroughs that have shaped science, technology and culture throughout the last century, as well as highlighting the importance of astronomy as a tool for education, development and diplomacy.

Find more information on the IAU100 website.

Bhutan NameExoWorlds Project Campaign

​Sonam Phuntsho, Chief, Division of Telecom & Space, DITT