Bid to name distant planet after Scottish mountain Schiehallion fails

Schiehallion, Perthshire

Schiehallion, Perthshire

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A bid to name a distant planet after Schiehallion, the famous Scottish mountain, has been unsuccessful.

Ayrshire Astronomical Society was the only Scottish group on the shortlist of the International Astronomical Union’s (IAU) NameExoWorlds competition.

Its entry was for the system Upsilon Andromedae, with Moore suggested as the name for its star and Sagan, Clark and Schiehallion for the planets.

The star is visible with the naked eye from Scotland.

Morocco’s Vega Astronomy Club won the vote to name Upsilon Andromedae – one of 20 systems the IAU sought names for – with its suggested names of Titawin, Saffar, Samh and Majriti.

A spokesman for the Scottish group said: “It is a pity that we didn’t get a result for Scotland and the UK but it was a good exercise for the society and it did raise the profile of astronomy in the public arena.

“Well done Morocco.”

Exo-planets orbit distant stars and currently carry scientific designations such as GJ 832 b and CoRoT-1b.

More than 573,000 valid votes were cast with astronomy enthusiasts in war-torn Syria casting 1.03 per cent of the total votes cast – and a group in the country successful in naming a planet Tadmor.

Ayrshire Astronomical Society suggested Moore as the name for the star in honour of the late English astronomer and broadcaster Sir Patrick Moore.

Sagan would honour American astronomer Carl Sagan, Clarke recall legendary science fiction writer Sir Arthur C Clarke while Schiehallion is a 3,547ft mountain in Perthshire.

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