Meet Musica and Poltergeist: Astronomers Rename Dozens of Exoplanets

Email a Friend
Since the Kepler Space Telescope launched in 2009, scientists have been able to use its eyes to confirm the existence of over a thousand exoplanets in just one sliver of the galaxy.
From and

Click on the audio player above to hear this interview.

The International Astronomical Union has released new names for 32 exoplanets and 14 stars. Because of their outsider status, exoplanets usually get stuck with boring names like "42 Draconis b" or "PSR 1257+12 c." But now you can refer to those two as "Orbitar" and "Poltergeist," respectively. 

The names were proposed by various astronomy groups, and voters from 182 different countries weighed in, all of them vying to make their mark in the astronomical history books.

Here to weigh in on the name changes is Sara Seager, an exoplanet astronomer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She's happy the public got to participate in the naming of distant worlds. 

Below you'll find some of the names and the countries that nominated them. Want to learn more about exoplanets? Check out our NASA-backed series "Brave New Worlds: Looking for Life in The Goldilocks Zone."


  • Fafnir
  • Orbitar
  • Ran
  • AEgir
  • Dagon


  • Lich
  • Draugr
  • Poltergeist
  • Phobetor

The Netherlands

  • Copernicus
  • Galileo
  • Brahe
  • Lipperhey
  • Janssen
  • Harriot


  • Musica
  • Arion
  • Amateru
  • Libertas
  • Fortitudo


  • Cervantes
  • Quijote
  • Dulcinea
  • Rocinante
  • Sancho


  • Titawin
  • Saffar
  • Samh
  • Majriti


  • Chalawan
  • Taphao Thong
  • Taphao Kaew



  • Tonatiuh
  • Meztli


  • Ogma
  • Smertrios


  • Tadmor