Members of the public given the opportunity to name their own planet

The University has joined forces with the Leicester Mercury to give the people of Leicester the opportunity to name their own planet.

Professor Martin Barstow, Pro-Vice Chancellor, Head of the College of Science & Engineering, Professor of Astrophysics and Space Science and President, Royal Astronomical Society, has registered the University in an International Astronomical Union (IAU) competition which invites groups to name newly discovered worlds.

The organisation has invited people to offer suggestions for naming 20 planetary bodies - mainly located by Nasa's Kepler space satellite.

Professor Barstow and a panel of judges will then pick the best three proposals and readers will be given the opportunity to vote for their favourite in an online poll on the Mercury's website.

The planet that people are being asked to name has the working title gamma Cephei b. It resides some 45 light years away in the constellation of the King and orbits a 6.6 billion-year-old star named, Errai.

The deadline for readers to email their ideas, as well as an explanation of why that name has been submitted, is May 18. The poll will close on May 29, and the name with the most votes will be submitted as the University's entry.

Email your entries to with the title NAME A PLANET in the subject box.