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The Public Are Being Asked To Name A Planet In Our Solar System

The Public Are Being Asked To Name A Planet In Our Solar System

Astronomers have asked the public to help name a minor planet discovered in 2007.

The dwarf planet, which orbits the sun past Neptune, has been named (225088) 2007 OR10 since its discovery, which doesn't exactly roll off the tongue.

Now, the astronomers who first came across it are asking the public with help to choose a name. The options are Gonggong, Holle and Vili.

Credit: Help Name 2007 0R10
Credit: Help Name 2007 0R10
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Gonggong is a Chinese water god said to have red hair and a serpent-like tail. The god is known for creating destruction, including flooding and tilting the Earth.

Holle is a European winter goddess of fertility, rebirth, and women, and Vili is a Nordic god who played a key role in the creation of the cosmos, defeating frost giant Ymir and using his body to create the universe.

The public are being asked to vote via an online poll which you can find here.

The three astronauts who found the planet - names only as Meg, Mike and David - said: "Over ten years ago, we discovered (225088) 2007 OR10 at Palomar Observatory near San Diego, California.

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Credit: Help Name 2007 0R10
Credit: Help Name 2007 0R10

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"We're asking for your help in order to pick the best fitting naming suggestion for 2007 OR10 to submit to the International Astronomical Union (IAU)"

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The dwarf planet is thought to be around half the size of Pluto with a diameter of 775 miles (1,247km). It is currently the largest unnamed body discovered in our Solar System.

Scientists put the seven-year delay in naming down to wanting to better understand the planet.

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However, we reckon there were some reservations between the astronomers given the history of turning naming to the public.

In 2016 the public were asked to name a research vessel operated by the British Antarctic Survey and the winning suggestion was 'Boaty McBoatface'.

While the name wasn't used in the end (the ship was called RRS Sir David Attenborough instead), Boaty McBoatface began a trend for trolling public naming contests.

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Good thing this one has only three options, eh?

Featured Image Credit: Help Find 2007 0R10

Topics: Science, Life News, Nasa, space

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Ciara Sheppard

Ciara is a freelance journalist working for Tyla. After graduating from the University of Sussex, Ciara worked as a writer at GLAMOUR Magazine and later as the Assistant Editor of Yahoo Style UK.