Uwingu Announces Contest Winner
for Popular Name of Alpha Centauri Bb
Back when I was a child my father took me out to see the stars and my mother encouraged me to read about as many things as I could. Without their guidance, I might not be as interested in astronomy and sharing the stars as I am today. When I look at some areas of the sky, such as the constellation Orion, I think of those early times when they were turning me on to the sky. And, to me, some areas of the sky will always be associated with my folks. If I’d thought of it sooner, I might have nicknamed that region where the Orion Nebula reigns supreme after them: caeli gloriosa domo Johannis Collins, et Maria (Latin for “the glorious sky home of John and Mary Collins”). It would be a fitting salute to two people who sacrificed a lot so I (and my siblings) could get ahead in life.
Interestingly, the winner of the Uwingu contest to suggest popular names for the planet orbiting Alpha Centauri B had a similar wish to honor a relative. The winning name, announced today by Uwingu, is Albertus Alauda, suggested by Jason Lark in honor of his late grandfather, Albert Lark. In the citation accompanying his nomination, Jason wrote, “His name in Latin means “noble” or “bright” and to praise or to extol. I think this is an apt description as my Grandfather was a noble man and bright of character and in this nomination, I wish to honour [extol] him.”
Jason’s nomination to salute his grandfather won out over more than 1,240 names that were suggested in Uwingu’s contest. While congratulations are due to Jason for his touching nomination, the real winners are also the people who took the time to enter the contest and learn more about exoplanets as they also shared their resources to help a worthy cause. The proceeds of the contest will go to fund space educators and their projects — a goal that Uwingu has long supported as it seeks to find new ways to fund STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) outreach in the United States. For more information on Uwingu and its ongoing mission, visit the group’s website here, and to learn more about its upcoming projects.