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Is Star Naming a Scam?

On of the most common questions in star naming is around the lines of "Is naming a star a scam?" or "can you really name star?"

We can tell you none of the "legitimate" sites we talk about here claim to be an official star naming registry. You see the stars in the sky are scientifically named and the names are rather boring depicting the coordinates in space.  Really they are designations.  They do this so scientist from all over the world have a common ground to find stars by their designation.

Certainly the most recognized agency in the world for star designations is the IAU or International Astronomical Union.

So does anyone "own" rights to the stars or other celestial bodies?

In short no.  Nobody owns the rights to any of the stars or planets.  Occasionally, the scientific community will allow an astronomer who discovered a particularly rare object to give it a name.  This may become the standard name known to the scientific community if it is famous enough - however the object will still have it's official designation.

So are these company's selling star names ripping us off?

Absolutely not, they are not "selling star names".  All of the site reviewed here acknowledge they are not official namers of stars or the like.  They sell gift packages and certificates for commemorating a star for someone of your choice.  The "name" given is kept in their database.  Who knows history has been rewritten by the victor of wars for ages - if Earth has a society ending war or event and one database survives MAYBE a future generation will use it's star names.  The value here is in the thought and documentation that someone thought another was as special as a unique star.


Yes its a scam, there are no two ways about it. None of these "stars" will ever be named what people are paying for.

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They're  not ripping anyone off, it's a novelty name



Some commercial companies purport to allow you to name a star. Typically, for a fee, they'll send you a nice certificate and a chart from a star atlas showing the position of "your" star. The only problem is that the star name that you purchased amounts to nothing more than a novelty and is not officially recognized by any reputable astronomical or scientific institution.

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