The Jakarta Post
The International Astronomical Union (IAU) has named an exoplanet and its host star in the Centaurus constellation “Noifasui” and “Dofida”, respectively. The names come from the native language of Nias, an island off the western coast of North Sumatra.
The two are among 112 pairs of names for exoplanets and their stars approved by the IAU during an event in Paris on Tuesday, held in celebration of the union's 100th anniversary.
The IAU selected the names from the 112 countries participating in its IAU100 NameExoWorlds campaign. More than 780,000 people worldwide proposed and helped select names for the exoplanets and their host stars.
“This is a historic moment for Indonesia,” said Avivah Yamani, a member of Indonesia’s exoplanet naming committee, as quoted by tempo.co.
The name Dofida, meaning “our star” in the Nias language, has been given to star HD 117618, while the exoplanet orbiting it is named Noifasui – a word built from the Nias words ifasui (to revolve around) and no (particle indicating past and continued action).
The 112 participating countries in the International Astronomical Union's IAU100 NameExoWorlds campaign. (International Astronomical Union (IAU)/-)
It was Modesta Telaumbanua, a Nias local, who recommended the names for the exoplanet and star, which together make a planetary system. The union gave Indonesia the responsibility of naming the celestial duo.
“It means that that in the solar system, Noifasui is orbiting Dofida,” he said.
Noifasui and Dofida were selected by the IAU out of 251 finalists from various indigenous languages in Indonesia. The names were mostly related to the archipelago’s endemic flora, fauna and cultures, tempo.co reported.
The NameExoWorlds campaign was held to mark the centennial anniversary of the IAU – the authority responsible for overseeing the official names of objects in space – as well as to celebrate the UN’s 2019 International Year of Indigenous Languages.
“The IAU is delighted to see the broad international interest that the NameExoWorlds campaign has generated,” IAU president-elect Debra Elmegreen said in a statement.
“It is gratifying that so many people across the globe have helped create a name for a planetary system that is meaningful to their culture and heritage. This effort helps unite us all in our exploration of the Universe,” she added. (gis)