why do astronomers commonly name newly discovered planets and stars just strings of xharacters instead of actual words?


why do astronomers commonly name newly discovered planets and stars just strings of xharacters instead of actual words?

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There are trillions of stars and planets. At some point existing vocabulary/words/names runs out

There are too many stars and planets to give them all proper names. Instead they are given a catalog number. The first name is the name of the catalog, then a number designating the index into this catalog, finally a letter numbering the planet in the solar system with stars getting upper case letters and planets getting lower case letters. The same star system might even appear in multiple catalogs and therefore have different names. And as we discover new planets in an existing solar system the names of the other planets might change.

Some particularly rare or special objects are still given names when they’re discovered, such as dwarf planets in our solar system.

Of course, historically the brightest stars were given names, and many of these names are still in use. But nowadays upwards of a billion stars have been recorded, and it wouldn’t be practical or worthwhile to think of names for all of them.

There is an enormous number of stars and most of them have just a number on a catalog not a name.

If you look at the Bonner https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Durchmusterung from 1859 it is a star catalog made without the aid of photography and it contains 320,000 stars. The [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guide_Star_Catalog](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guide_Star_Catalog) was made with Hubble Space Telescope constant 945 million stars.

So because of the enormous amount of starts, they are not given individual name but hav a number designation based on where are in a catalog. It would simply be impractical to give them all proper names

There are lots of exoplanets too, 5,017 confirmed as of 1 May 2022. We suspect most stars have them. The result is that they are named after the star with a letter suffix. If the start system only has one start it will be a and the first discovered planet b and so on.

There is a system to give Stars and planets the proper name International Astronomical Union. But it is not done at the rate they are discovered you can see them at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_proper_names_of_exoplanets most of the names are from NameExoWorlds where they let the public suggest names for exoplanets. So the naming of them is primary use as a way of public outreach.

There is a procedure to assign a recognized name. While the process checks the procidence (who found it first) and assures permanent names are socially acceptable, good things, it takes many years. Until then the catalog number (which seems random but is not) is used in publications. Each lab has nicknames for ths stars they are working on, but that’s just internal.

There are far too many stars and other celestial objects for them all to be given proper names. When celestial objects are discovered, they’re cataloged so other people can find them and look up information about them. Different catalogues have different conventions for designation the objects, but they’re far more useful to astronomers than proper names.

They aren’t just strings of random numbers and letters, they’re unique identifiers based on how the objects are discovered and catalogued. For example, PSR J0737-3039 looks like random numbers and letters to you, but PSR tells me that it’s a pulsar and the numbers tell me its coordinates in the sky. This is obviously very useful for astronomers and astrophysicists. Objects generally have multiple designations in different catalogs so that astronomers know whether they are looking at an already known object or a newly discovered one.

And planets don’t have random strings of characters. Planet naming is extremely straightforward. For all planets outside our solar system, their names are simple the name or designation of the star followed by a lower case letter (starting with b) in the order that they were discovered. So Kepler-22b is the first planet discovered that orbits the star Kepler-22.

There are billions of times more stars than people, and we can’t even manage to give all the people unique names. There are just too many of them, compared to the creativity we’re willing to spare naming them.