This Star and Exoplanet Are Named After Two Filipino Sea Gods
Almost 200 light years from Earth rests a planetary system named after gods in Filipino mythology.
Previously called WASP-34, the yellow dwarf star of the Crater Constellation will now be named Amansinaya, after the primordial deity of the ocean and protector of fisherman in Tagalog mythology. Meanwhile, the star’s exoplanet, previously called WASP-43b, will now be called Haik, after the Tagalog god of the sea.
The new names of this planetary system were announced by the International Astronomical Union, the only authority that can name objects in space. The names were suggested by Filipino Paul Go who won the international naming competition for the star and planet.
Over 5,000 names were submitted from around the world, and after public online voting, Go became the lucky winner of the competition. A member of the Philippine Astronomical Society, Go is also the co-founder of the 7 Lakes Astronomy group based in Laguna that offers free telescope viewings for fellow star watchers.
Go’s idea for the names came from the mythology of the Crater constellation, which is about 174 light years from Earth. According to Greek legend, the Crater constellation is the cup that the Greek god of the sun Apollo cast into the sky, along with the constellations Hydra and Corvus. To match the legend of the cup or chalice, Go came up with the names of two Filipino deities associated with water, Amansinaya and Haik.
Haik is a gas planet larger than even Jupiter, the biggest planet in our solar system, while Amansinaya is about the same size and color as our sun.