A star and its orbiting planet now bear names with Singapore connection

The star and exoplanet have been christened Parumleo and Viculus, respectively, after a public vote.
The star and exoplanet have been christened Parumleo and Viculus, respectively, after a public vote.PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM EXOPLANETS.NASA.GOV

SINGAPORE - The Republic has left an indelible mark on the star charts after it was invited to name a star and its respective exoplanet.

The star and exoplanet have been christened Parumleo and Viculus, respectively, after a public vote, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) and astronomy club Astronomy.SG said in a press statement on Thursday (Jan 2).

The names were the brainchild of an Anglo Chinese School (Independent) student Jordan Sun Jing Tai, whose suggestion beat out 21 others and garnered a total of 270 votes.

The names underscore Singapore's heritage; Parumleo, Latin for little lion, "symbolises Singapore's struggle for independence and immortalises its national animal", while Viculus, Latin for little village, "symbolises the community spirit of the Singaporean people", Astronomy.SG explained.

An exoplanet refers to a planet which orbits around a star outside the solar system.

The selected names will be officially accepted and used in future articles and journals.

The star is a yellow-white dwarf star located in the constellation Pisces and it is visible from Singapore using a small to medium telescope.

It has the same spectral classification as the Sun, and is predicted to be of equal mass as well.

Singapore was among over 110 countries, including Malaysia, France and Australia, which took part in the NameExoWorlds II Project organised by IAU as part of the union's celebration of their 100th anniversary last year.

IAU is an international astronomical organisation that comprises some 13,500 professional astronomers from more than 100 countries. It is the world's largest professional body for astronomers and serves as the internationally recognised authority for assigning designations to celestial bodies and the surface features on them.

Astronomy.SG was selected to be a part of the project and it collected name suggestions and conducted the vote between last October and December.

The astronomy club is run by five executive members who hold events throughout the year which have seen up to 40 enthusiasts participate.

President of Astronomy.SG Bharathkumar Sriram said: "What surprised us was how even those outside the regular community had reacted positively to the project."

"With over 20 submissions to choose from, I am truly grateful for everyone's enthusiastic participation in this event, and we hope to keep this enthusiasm up for the Singaporean (astronomy) community around us."