What You Need To Know About Star Dedicating Services

Deciding to dedicate a star for someone is a great way to show your love and appreciation. You may be wondering, though, exactly what star dedicating services are and how the process works. Let's find out more about them.

Don't Stars Already Have Names?

All the stars that are visible to the naked eye were named centuries ago. However, many that have been discovered since are merely tagged with designations that combine numbers, letters and symbols. Not that BD +5 deg 1668's mom doesn't love her kid, but we all can probably agree it's not a great name. So, yes, there are lots of stars that don't have proper names, but there are about a billion trillion more that haven't even been found or fully cataloged yet.

You're Not Buying the Star

At the off chance that you have some supervillain plan to build a Dyson sphere and harvest the power of a star, that's technically considered against the law. While no one is likely to stop you, your claim to an actual star will not be recognized by any governing body, such as the International Astronomical Union (IAU). However, their attitude might change once you've constructed your superweapon.

Dedicating isn't Naming

Star dedicating services maintain databases of which stars have been dedicated to which people. They do not assert any names for the stars in question, as that is considered the job of the aforementioned IAU. In case you're wondering, the IAU is pretty busy officially naming the trillions of stars that have been found with traditional mythological names instead of dashes and numbers, and it doesn't seem interested in this potential profit center. The Working Group on Star Names, a subdivision of the IAU, is handling this task at the blistering pace of a few hundred per year.

What Do You Get with a Dedication?

The dedication is entered into the database along with the name of the person you're honoring. A certificate is then produced and sent to you noting the dedication. You'll also be given data on the star that has been dedicated, and this data will include important information such as its actual location in the sky and how you can track it down. Depending on just how far afield in space the star happens to be, you may also get instructions regarding what exact type of telescope you'll need in order to see it.