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April 14 2013

You can't buy rights to name exoplanet, says astronomy group

There may not be an alien planet named Heinlein any time soon if the International Astronomical Union (IAU) gets its way. The astronomy group issued a reminder April 12 that it is the only body authorized to give exoplanets their official names, despite recent naming initiatives by companies like Uwingu.

In the statement, IAU officials said that planet-naming schemes have "no bearing on the official naming process," and stressed the importance of having a unified procedure, even though its members welcome the public's interest..

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