First exoplanet found by Chinese astronomers named after moon goddess

The first exoplanet discovered by Chinese astronomers and its host star have been named “Wangshu” and “Xihe,” which mean moon goddess and sun goddess respectively in Chinese mythology. The two names proposed by the student astronomy club of Guangzhou No. 6 Middle School were announced at the Beijing Planetarium, which is a part of the NameExoWorlds campaign organized by the International Astronomical Union (IAU).

Discovered by Chinese astronomers in 2008, Wangshu is about 440 light-years away from Earth in Lyra, orbiting Xihe, which is sufficiently bright to be observed through telescopes from China.


Within the framework of the IAU’s 100th anniversary commemorations in 2019, 112 countries and regions organized campaigns that stimulated the direct participation of over 780,000 people worldwide, who proposed and selected names for each exoplanet and its host star.