Press Release  


Press Contact:

Thilina Heenatigala
Space Renaissance Education Chapter
T: +94 716 245 545

Ginita Jimenez
Father Films
T: + 44 (0) 7970 794466

Naming X – Winners Announced!

After hundreds of submissions from 34 countries during the course of a month, Naming X, a global online competition launched in honour and memory of Venetia Burney Phair, who named the minor planet Pluto in 1930, aged 11, can reveal its winners and runners up!

In April 2010 Naming X asked young minds around the globe to suggest a suitable name for a minor planet and a reason why. Applicants were required to adhere to competition guidelines and suggestions were accepted in three categories, under 11years, +12years, and schools & groups.

Competition organizers Thilina Heenatigala of Space Renaissance Education Chapter and Ginita
Jimenez of Father Films commented, “This educational initiative was very successful and got learners thinking creatively, some educators preceded the competition with an activity explaining the definition of a minor planet, facts on characteristics, discovery and naming protocol. Other teachers asked students to imagine a minor planet, then draw and name it. An entire class kindly sent its drawings in to us!”

They add, “It has been an honour to have a world class team onboard as advisors, expert panelists and supporters and their endorsement and enthusiasm has been central to the initiative's success. The International Astronomical Union’s (IAU) Committee for Small Body Nomenclature’s (CSBN) endorsement gave Naming X a fundamental purpose.”

Winning names are Glissade, suggested by 10year old Erica Reed, Erytheia, suggested by 15year old Nathan Phillips and Virgil, offered by McKinney High School, USA.

Winners will receive a signed certificate, telescope time care of Bellatrix Observatory, Italy and a copy of the award-winning documentary of Venetia’s story, Naming Pluto and film poster, care of Father Films. Winners’ suggested names will be included in a formal paper to the International Astronomical Union’s (IAU) Committee for Small Body Nomenclature (CSBN).

Special mentions in the form of runners up in each category originated from Belgium, Ghana, India, Sri Lanka, United Kingdom and USA.

The Naming X team is delighted with the international response and may even consider opening its doors for a longer period in 2011 to encourage as many creative scientific thinkers as possible, so watch this space!!

For more detail on the winning entries and runners up go to our blogsite:

Press release of Naming X - Winners Announcement (pdf)
Press release of Naming X - Competition launch (pdf)

Naming X featured on:

International Year of Astronomy (IYA)
The Planetary Society Blog
Sky & Telescope
Scientific American
Universe Awareness
Astro Guyz
Scoop-Independent News
asztronautikal hirportal (Hungarian)
Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network
School Sector (Russian)
Earth Space Agency