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.

“Arrokoth” Chosen 2019 Name of the Year, “Brexit” Name of the Decade

Composite image of primordial contact binary Kuiper Belt Object 2014 MU69 from New Horizons Spacecraft Data

Arrokoth” was chosen the Name of the Year for 2019 by the American Name Society at its annual meeting in New Orleans on January 3, 2020.

The winner was also chosen ANS’s Place Name of the Year. In November NASA announced this as the name of “minor planet 486958.” Before the New Horizons probe flew over it on January 1, 2019, NASA received about 34,000 name suggestions. Their initial selection, Ultima Thule, was abandoned when it turned out that Ultima Thule was used by Nazi occultists as the mythical home of the “Aryan race.” Arrokoth means “sky” in Powhatan an extinct Algonquian language formerly spoken in eastern Virginia.

“Greta Thunberg” was chosen as Personal Name of the Year. Swedish climate activist Thunberg, who turned 17 on January 3, is a leader of the global youth addressing climate change. Chosen by Time magazine as its Person of the Year for 2019, her name itself has become a byword for youth activism. The influence of youth climate activism on politicians is now called “The Greta Effect”, and a documentary film about the movement is titled “Make the World Greta Again.”

#Fridaysforfuture won the title of Ename of the Year. This became the name of Greta Thunberg’s movement, referring to her original protests on Fridays in Sweden. In a relatively short period of time, this e-moniker has spawned many other e-names. It has also become the name for a global movement and has spawned names for analogous protest groups (#Fridaysforfuture→ Fridaysforfuture→Scientists for Future, Parents for Future, All for Future).

TikTok was voted Trade Name of the Year. The TikTok app for making and sharing short videos was launched internationally in September 2017 and now has more than 500 million users. It’s the first Chinese-made app to succeed on a mass scale outside China. The TikTok name, used only outside China, is based on tick-tock, onomatopoeia for clocks and a term for countdowns and minute-by-minute action.

“Baby Yoda” was chosen Artistic Name of the Year. In the Star Wars series “The Mandalorian,” which premiered on the Disney+ channel in November, the recurring character with the saucer eyes and batlike ears is known simply as The Child. However, critics and viewers quickly dubbed him “Baby Yoda.” The character is almost always referred to that way on social media. This is a highly unusual case where the name of a fictional character has been created by fans instead of those writing or producing the program.

“Antivax(x)er” was chosen as Miscellaneous Name of the Year. According to the World Health Organization, one of the ten largest threats to global health is the increasing reticence of adults to receive or allow those in their charge to be given a medical vaccination. People who are opposed to vaccination legislation have been given the name antivaxer or antivaxxer. Although Merriam Webster asserts that the name first was attested in English in 2009, the name reached particular prominence in 2019, when health organizations around the world began to ring the alarm about the deadly re-emergence of many contagious diseases. The highest rate of Google searches ever reached for the name of this resistance movement was in April/March of 2019.

Voters at the meeting spontaneously decided to designate a “Name of the Decade” for 2010-2019. “Brexit” won that title. This name for the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European union, created by blending “Britain” with “exit”, was created before the June 2016 referendum on the issue. The term has remained in the news and has continued to spawn similar names. For example, “Grexit” refers to the proposal that Greece leave the European Union. In the United States, those who advocate that Texas and California become independent call their ideas “Texit” and “Calexit”, and the hashtags #Orexit, #Washexit, and #Nevexit are used by those who wish Oregon, Washington, and Nevada to join with California in a new nation. An internet list of terms dealing with Brexit is called “Brexicon”.

The Name of the Year vote has been held since 2004. “Jamal Khashoggi” was the 2018 Name of the Year. “Rohingya” was the 2017 Name of the Year. “Aleppo“won for 2016 , “Caitlyn Jenner” for 2015, “Ferguson” for 2014, “Francis” for 2013, and “Sandy” for 2012. For further information contact Dr. Cleveland Evans, chair of the Name of the Year committee, at , 402-557-7524, or 402-210-7458.

A PDF version of this press release can be found here.

About Names: From Seymour to Fonda, Jane has had many ups and downs

Jane Fonda was arrested for a fifth time at the now-weekly climate change protests at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Cleveland Evans writes about names for the Omaha World-Herald. In his December 21st column, he looks at the history of the name Jane.

Jane is an English feminine form of John, a biblical name from the Hebrew “Yahweh is gracious.” In 1066, England’s Norman invaders brought two Old French feminine forms of John with them. Johanne became Joan, while Jehanne became Jane. In medieval times, Jane was rare, while Joan was the third-most common name in England. Around 1450, Jane started to rise, especially among the upper classes.

Throughout the 19th century, Jane appealed to the British more than to Americans. In 1911, the census of England and Wales included 780,514 Janes. The 1910 American census had 191,665, though then the United States had 92 million residents to England and Wales’ 36 million.

Jane’s lowest point came in 2006 at rank 477. Surprisingly, since then it’s risen, three decades before a 1940s name normally would. That may partly be linked to the increasing prominence of English novelist Jane Austen (1775-1817). In 2007, the films “Becoming Jane Austen” (starring Anne Hathaway as the author) and “The Jane Austen Book Club” both appeared.

Translating the Untranslatable: Proper Names in the Septuagint and in Jerome’s Vulgate

The lectureTranslating the Untranslatable: Proper Names in the Septuagint and in Jerome’s Vulgate” may be attended at Washington University in St. Louis (Missouri) on February 18, 2020. It will be given by Christophe Rico (Jerusalem Institute of Languages and Humanities).

With translation of proper names, we reach the limits of what is translatable. What is the meaning of a proper name? Does it have a meaning? Taking some concrete examples (Adam, Havah, Babel, Moriah, Beer Shevah, Shear Yashuv, Baal Hamon), we will compare St Jerome technique to the Septuagint technique in order to show the extraordinary skills that the author of the Vulgate was able to display in his translation.

In Memoriam: Don Orth (1925-2019)

Long-time ANS member and past president of the American Name Society Donald J. Orth died peacefully at his home in Falls Church, Virginia on October 30, 2019 at the age of 94. Donald presented papers at numerous ANS meetings over the years. He served as the executive Secretary of the U. S. Board on Geographic Names, and among his many publications on toponymy was the highly regarded Dictionary of Alaska Place Names. Don was a significant contributor to the work of the United Nations Group of Experts on Geographic Names.

A native of Wisconsin, Don joined the U.S. Navy in 1942 and landed on Omaha Beach on D-Day. He studied anthropology, cartography, and geography at the University of Wisconsin, knowledge essential for his 39-year career with the U. S. Geological Survey in Denver, Colorado. There he was involved with topographic surveying programs in the Western United States. He was also behind the creation of the automated Geographic Names Information System, the first of its kind in the world. Orth received the U.S. Department of Interior’s Medal and Meritorious Service Award for substantial contributions to cartography through his work in toponymy.

Don taught courses in Geography at George Washington University and Catholic University in Washington D.C. He was a member of the International Congress of Onomastic Sciences. Don engaged in many active hobbies, including mountain-climbing and historic preservation. Don is survived by his wife, Martha B. Orth, five grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren, and 17 great-great grandchildren.

Documentary Film on Changing Slave Names to Screen at ANS 2020 in New Orleans

A documentary film by first-time film maker and director Nware Rahsaan Burge will be screened at the 2020 ANS Conference. The event will be held on Friday evening, January 3, at 6:30 p.m. in the Steering Room of the Hilton Riverside Hotel, New Orleans. Titled “DNA—Using Genealogy to Change my SLAVE Last Name,” the film poses the question, “Should Black people change their White last name?”

The film features Dr. Gina Paige of African-Ancestry.Com as well as New York State Senator Kevin Parker and other university scholars who provide their responses to what Burge terms “this complex and sensitive” question. Nware’s film proposes that people of African descent in the Americas should contemplate using DNA genealogy test results to change their European surname to one of African ethnic origin.

With his film, Burge hopes to facilitate a global discussion on this subject. He states, “Regardless of personal opinion, the legacy of chattel slavery, specifically plantation ownership, will forever live when the current surnames of African-Americans are passed from generation to generation without much grievance.”

As a result of the transatlantic slave trade, thousands of Africans were stripped of their names and their identities. Burge notes, “Many of the surnames that were given or forced, if not all, were of European ancestry. So instead of African-Americans having surnames such as Diallo, Agbaje, or Nkrumah, African-Americans carry surnames such as Smith, Johnson, or O’Connor.” Burge recommends that African-Americans use DNA genealogy test results to change their European surnames to those of African ethnic origin. In fact, Burge plans to use DNA genealogy test results to decide on a new surname for himself. “

“DNA—Using Genealogy to Change my SLAVE Last Name” has already garnered critical acclaim. It received the Yaa Asantewaa award for Best Documentary at the Black Star International Film Festival in Accra, Ghana and was nominated for Best Documentary at the Newark International Film Festival in Newark, New Jersey. He has been interviewed by the BBC-radio in London to discuss his work. This past April, Nware was invited to screen his film at the Festival International Du Film Pan-African in Cannes, France.

In addition to being a documentary filmmaker, Burge is an Adjunct Professor at Kean University in Union, New Jersey and a history and special education high school teacher in Newark, New Jersey. He also co-owns Good Vibes Clean, an all-purpose organic cleaner and is a clothing model. Nware earned a B.A. in Liberal Arts/Political Science from Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn, New York and an M.S. in Education from Brooklyn College, in Brooklyn, New York. Nware has worked and taught in urban public schools for more than 15 years. Born in Hackensack, New Jersey, Nware currently resides in Newark.

Call for papers: “The Place of Memory and the Memory of Place” International Conference, Cambridge, UK, June 20-21 2020


“The Place of Memory and the Memory of Place” International Conference aims to spark new conversations across the field of memory and place studies. Papers are invited on topics related, but not limited, to:

  •  monuments and sites of trauma
  •  childhood homes
  •  city space and sightseeing
  •  burial places (graves, cementaries, necropoleis)
  •  ruins and forgotten places
  •  heterotopias and heterochronies
  •  toponymy and topoanalysis
  •  cartography and mapmaking

Conference Web-Site:

Country: United Kingdom

City: Cambridge

Abstracts due: 01.02.2020

Dates: 20.06.20 — 21.06.20

Call for Papers: 11th CERLIS CONFERENCE, Translation and Gender in the Profession, Bergamo, Italy, June 25-27 2020

CERLIS – the Research Centre on Specialised Languages is now accepting submissions for the 11th CERLIS CONFERENCE Translation and Gender in the Profession, which will be held in Bergamo, 25-27 June 2020 via EasyChair.

Confirmed plenary speakers are:

Jane Sunderland (University of Lancaster)
Pascale Sardin (Université Bordeaux-Montaigne)
José Santaemilia (Universitat de València)
David Katan (Università del Salento)

Abstracts and presentations should reflect at least one of the following themes:

– LSP translation, transcreation and gender issues
– Interpretation, community interpreting and gender issues
– LSP translation accuracy and gender issues
– Audiovisual translation from a gendered perspective
– Teaching translation and interpreting from a gender perspective
– Methodological approaches and translation practices and gender issues
– Corpus-based translation research and gender issues
– LSP Terminology, translation and gender sensitivity
– Language, gender and translation in business contexts
– Translation and gender-based analysis in academic discourse
– Translation and gender-based analysis in science/health research
– Gender issues in scientific and technical translations
– Translation, gender and participant roles in court interpreting
– Language, gender and translation in popularized forms of LSP discourse
– LSP, EU legal language and gender
– Translation, gender and the Media
– Gender issues in the translation of tourist texts

Deadline for proposals: 31st January 2020

Full details of the conference can be found here


Naming the Sacred: Religious Toponymy in History, Theology and Politics

The new publication on religious toponyms has been recently published by Anna Mambelli and Valentina Marchetto.

At what point is a place perceived as holy? And when does it become officially so in its definition? Inspired by the UNESCO debate and decisions made concerning holy places, the authors seek answers to these questions. “Naming the Sacred” is a diachronic excursus into the issues of perception and denomination of holy places. The volume examines historical cases in which names and places have been modified or literally eliminated and others where places were subject to policies of protection and tutelage. The work appertains to an ongoing, evolving global debate where the challenge of the reciprocal recognition of holy sites has become increasingly complex.