Stars – they’re just like us (in that we give them names)!

Star bright, star bright, first star I see tonight…every wonder how all of those heavenly bodies receive their official name? The International Astronomical Union provides detailed information about the star names and naming – including a long list of list of IAU-approved star names.

Hint: don’t try this at home.

The cataloguing of stars has seen a long history. Since prehistory, cultures and civilizations all around the world have given their own unique names to the brightest and most prominent stars in the night sky. Certain names have remained little changed as they passed through Greek, Latin and Arabic cultures, and some are still in use today. As astronomy developed and advanced over the centuries, a need arose for a universal cataloguing system, whereby the brightest stars (and thus those most studied) were known by the same labels, regardless of the country or culture from which the astronomers came.