Chinese Name Makes Shortlist for Unnamed Planet

By Matthew Bossons, April 11, 2019

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An online poll is currently being held to determine the name of minor planet 2007 OR10, which was discovered by three astronomers at the Palomar Observatory in California on July 17, 2007, and a Chinese name has made the ballot.

The small and very distant planet travels an elliptical orbit around the Sun and is located beyond the orbit of Neptune, in a region of the Solar System known as the Kuiper Belt.

Since its discovery, the minor planet has been identified by the moniker 2007 OR10, but the team that located it are now hoping to give the far-flung astronomical body a proper name.

On a website dedicated to naming 2007 OR10, netizens can vote for one of three different names: Gonggong, Holle and Vili.

READ MORE: Memes Flood Chinese Social Media After First-Ever Black Hole Photo

The-unnamed-planet.jpgImage via Alex

Gonggong is the name of a Chinese water deity known for producing chaos, causing floods and tilting our cosmic home, Earth, according to the naming website. Holle, a German name, is a winter goddess from Europe, while Vili is the name of a Norse god.

Currently, all of the planets in the Solar System, with the exception of Earth, are named after Greek and Roman gods.

According to the site, the names “have been pre-selected to meet the requirements of the International Astronomical Union (IAU). Because naming the largest unnamed world in our Solar System is a big decision, we’d like you to help us!”

And help them you can! Click here to go vote for your favorite name. Voting closes on May 10 at 11.59pm and the winning title will be submitted to the Minor Planet Center (MPC) and the International Astronomical Union (IAU).

READ MORE: No, 'Harambe McHarambeface' Did Not Win Gorilla Naming Contest at Chinese Zoo

[Cover image via Pixabay]

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