An organization with goals for enhancing/enriching (my words) space exploration, research, and education, Uwingu, has just released their first product with a focus on the many exo-planets discovered so far, and those yet to be discovered. While not actually a product in the physical sense it is an attempt to raise funding for use as grant money in the coming months. Grant applications will become available early next year with funds raised through this product. So in order to raise funding the public is encouraged to propose a planet name to be added to a database of possible names to be used for the many exo-planets being discovered. Each name nominated, or each vote cast for a name costs $0.99 (99 cents).
Keep in mind that while this database of names will be made available for Astronomers to choose from, whatever name or names one proposes are not official names, nor is it implied that they are official names, unlike the ‘name a star‘ scams. The naming of celestial objects is the the responsibility of the International Astronomical Union (IAU).
Also on the web site are, under the Educate link, are some resources relevant to the search for exo-planets and are arranged by grade level.
Click hereto read a short story about how Uncle Ron and Aunt Nan learned about naming stars.
Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for more observing information.
Depending on the translation from the Swahili language Uwingu refers to the sky and could literally mean ‘sky’, or ‘cloudiness’. (My preference is for the former translation!) However to a group of scientists, educators, and artists it is not only the name for a commercial business venture, it is also the focus of the group. Currently they are in the process of generating enough funding through ‘crowd-sourcing’ to get the business started.
And with this funding what will they do?
With the start-up funding the group plans to develop and market products related to space and space exploration. This may be in the form of Apps, PC programs, and online resources. From the sales of such products funding will be made available to support space-based education and research – in a way enhancing the already limited funding available.
Check them out, see who is involved and what their plans are. Do an Internet search for the word Uwingu to read what others have reported about the group and its plans. Then consider joining me and many others by taking part.