The National Astronomical Research Institute of Thailand (Narit) has encouraged Thais to vote for two pairs of Thai names for a distant star and its Neptune-like exoplanet, to nominate the names to the International Astronomical Union (IAU).
The red dwarf star GJ 3470 and its bluish green planet GJ 3470b, are 95.9 light years from our own solar system and located in the constellation of Cancer, also known as The Crab, which is also one of the 12 constellations in the zodiac.
The IAU chose Thailand to select its names as Thai astronomers were the first to observe them through telescopes at the National Observatory on Doi Inthanon mountain of Chiang Mai province.
Narit researcher Supachai Awiphan invited Thais to submit names for the star and its planet and two winning pairs were chosen from the 340 submissions.
The public now has until Dec 2 to pick a winner via an online poll.
The first pair of names put forward are "Kaewkosin", which is influenced by the ancient belief that the stars in the sky were precious gemstones belonging to Indra, a deity of Hindu myth, with "Phailinsiam", or blue gemstone, suggested for the planet
The alternate pair are "Thabthimthai" and "Phailinlom", meaning a type of red and blue gem respectively, both of which are among nine gems of auspiciousness, known in Thailand as Noppakao or Nopparat.
The result will be announced on Dec 6, with 10 special prizes of planetarium tickets in the activity.