ERIDANUS — Thailand’s mightiest river and one of its tributaries are making their mark among the stars.
Based on votes by Thai citizens, the WASP-50 star and its orbiting exoplanet WASP-50 b will be named after the Chao Phraya River and Mae Ping river, respectively.
If more exoplanets are discovered orbiting Chao Phraya, they will also be named after the river’s other tributaries such as the Wang, Yom, and Nan Rivers.
The naming effort is part of the “NameExoWorlds” project by the International Astronomical Union, the only internationally-recognized body that can officially assign names to celestial bodies, and is held in honor of the organization’s 100th year.
Voting lasted throughout October. The winning names will be officially given to the stars by the International Astronomical Union in December.
A similar campaign was held back in 2015, where Thailand named a star Chalawan and two orbiting planets Taphao Thong and Taphao Kaew, after Thai folklore of a crocodile king who captured a Phichit woman to make her his wife, and the other after her sister.