Czechs decide to name their own exoplanet “Makropulos”


An exoplanet is now called after a word made famous by Czech author Karel Čapek – Makropulos – the Czech Academy of Sciences reports. The word was chosen through a public competition initiated by the International Astronomical Union where any Czech citizen could send a proposition that was then reviewed by a scientific commission. Although there are already some 450 objects in space named by the Czechs who discovered them, it is the first time that the general public has had a chance to do so.

Located within the Lynx constellation, Makropulos circles a star called XO-5. The planet itself is a so-called “hot-Jupiter”, a gas giant which orbits its parent star very closely.

Some 4,500 sent name proposals, but only one out of seven was in line with the rules set out by the expert commission. The Czech Republic was not the only country to take part in the competition, 110 states altogether were each allocated an exoplanet to name.