Back in 2007, a team of astronomers discovered a minor trans-Neptunian planet which, in the years to follow, became the largest known body in the Solar System that didn’t have a name – it has only been known as 2007 OR10 until now.
But the astronomers who have discovered it, Megan Schwamb, Michael Brown and David Rabinowitz want the general public to help them name it.
In the FAQ on the planet’s page, they explained why they waited for so many years to name it: “We know, it’s been a long wait. We’ve always wanted to have some kind of public involvement in naming 2007 OR10, but we also wanted to know more about the object to give it a name that fits.”
Unfortunately, you won’t get to just pitch in your own ideas – some of you might remember the hilarious disaster that was the polar vessel Boaty McBoatface (which was subsequently re-named the RSS Sir David Attenborough). To avoid that, the astronomers offered three options on the planet’s website:
Gonggong (Mandarin): A Chinese water god often depicted as having red hair and the tail of a dragon. He is seen as destructive, and is blamed for cosmic catastrophes including floods and the tilting of Earth.
Holle (German): A German fairy tale character established as a goddess by the Brothers Grimm. She is connected to the spirit world through the magic of spinning and weaving, and is linked to the Yuletide season.
Vili (Norse): A Nordic deity who, together with his brothers Vé and Odin, defeated frost giant Ymir and used Ymir’s body to create the universe.
You have until 11:59 p.m. PDT on May 10 (2:59 a.m. EST on May 11) to vote and, while you can vote more than once, you should only do it for two names per day, so your favorite name won’t get an unfair advantage.
I already know what name I am voting for, how about you?