GENERAL ASTRONOMY ARTICLES
SELLING STAR NAMES :
Please give me a name!
Over the years, when educating others on astronomy, I have had approaches several dozen times asking to find stars that have been bought by quite educated yet gullible individuals. Now when commercially purchasing some designated ‘sold’ stars they often simply named after the individual who bought it. Upon purchase the buyer finds that the brighter the star, the higher the price. So why is this practice so widespread? Well, these rotten capitalistic tricksters just are playing on the vanity of human emotions, mostly regarding some kind of immortality. Presumably, the targeted victim believes, either their own name or designated loved one will be forever eternally emblazed in the sky well after they are dead and buried!
Funny. Some of this star-selling advertising has also started to targeted even new relationships or lovers as it, a one site says; “…lets you express your feelings in romantic, meaningful way by naming a star for a loved one.” Of course, the most popular stars of all are within the zodiac constellations, namely because of the link with astrological star-signs or towards stars that are, or thought to be, double or binary systems; thus forever attaching the couple for all eternity in their embrace! † Phooey, I say!!!
Sometimes the circumstances of the star name purchaser can be very sad and even heart wrenching. One recent example is of the sad death of a little boy who was instantly killed in an avoidable and senseless traffic accident. Another died from leukaemia. Both their families, in their real heartfelt personal grief, respectfully bought some star from one of these companies, who had persuaded them it was a good way to remember his passing.
What do you say, other than just shake your head in disbelief, that anyone could even use these tactics just to prey on people at their most vulnerable just make a dollar or two?
You would like to speak out, but knowing if you did, you would be then judged far too insensitive, even though you know it was absolutely wrong and deceptively made by these charlatans in the first place?
For me, it is bizarre how people“s minds generally view their own little world. Those with religious or spiritual beliefs, for example, often think that the sky beyond the Earth is ‘Heaven’. The reality on this proposal is that the presumed place after death is actually just some metaphysical idea based on someone’s adopted religious dogma. It not a physical realm. The stars, in this way of thinking, are therefore much like us, being far and distant just like this imagined metaphysical world. God, or the gods, are all manifest in their personal distant realities – doing their heavenly errands we do not understand nor even comprehend.
Yet, regardless of this, most still want to desperately cling to the ye old notions that the stars are also eternal, when in fact they are just as forever moral like the rest of us. No doubt these same stars will be brightly be shining long after the human race has long departed from this insane Earth – either by our own inherent self-destructiveness or by the Sun slowly making the surface of the Earth uninhabitable for any life to live. Was not the idea of the eternal stars an Aristotelian idea some 2,400 years ago; when the world and Universe was this grand unknowable mystery? Where and how to produce starlight was not even remotely understood or able to be considered! Yet we are still naive to this obvious supertitious claptrap!
More often than not, the selected sold stars are quite faint and require sizeable telescopes to see them. Once purchased, the customer then wants to personally look at the star in the sky – often disappointing them in the difficulty to find and how faint the star actually is. The star which they have sort for comfort so much reflects the insignificance of themselves or of their departed loved one(s) which no doubt exacerbates and magnifies their own feelings of remorse or grief. Such feelings are made far more morbid in seeing these decent people exploited in this lousy way – especially in such tragic circumstances. Yet I am willing to help out here in silence against my own hostile views —, if only to perhaps give those left behind deal with their grief and real sadness. At least it is a human thing to do.
In recent times, however, the growing trend is that even the supposed scientific astronomical institutions have instead joined in with these now common practices, just for some cash on the side!. I.e. Following the saying; “If you can’t beat ’em join them!”
Simply all it does is just legitimise this invalid improper practice instead of just stamping it out all together. Yet, for those who are very passionately against this bunkum finds their efforts undermined. Even now the astronomical observatories and museums are now getting in on the act. No only is it inane and simply stupid, in has no real meaning for an individual – except condone such exploitation. In my opinion, these professional bodies are far worst than the dodgy ones because they should actually know better!
Of course, the explanation for the costs incurred is to produce the documentation and the time spent doing it. Often you get some ‘official certificate’ with your own star as named. This may cost only several cents, which marked up so much; you can end up shell-out anything between $10 up to $200; so that the stinking proprietor makes an exorbitantly outrageous huge profit. Often it names some star catalogue number(s), details such as the brightness or even spectral type (colour) and some small map of the general region. Most of these are commonly available in astronomical computer software. What people should realise is that they could easily do this themselves without any expense. Simply pick some star and what you do with it is then up to you!
* In the real world, the I.A.U. controls of the nomenclature in astronomy, but it does not mean adding or changing star names cannot be done. Fortunately, the I.A.U. is seemingly highly democratic, non-political and non-profit body. If there are various responses to some particularly favoured name in the general population, there can be change. Here submitted suggestions can be officially ratified and can be changed or modified. An official position of the I.A.U. appears in the statement on the following link; “Buying Star Names”
† Based on the current rates of divorce in the Western world, binary stars are not that easy to split up, meaning one you do this, forever you are bound together. This sounding a little bit like the rules of the Catholic Church and eternal divorce, meaning once done you cannot remarry in the Church again. This is of course, unless you can prove the conditions of religious annulments under the Tribunal of the Catholic Church. Else, the vow continues forever more — on both earth and into the afterlife in Heaven.
• The following reference in pdf format is the current official position of the professional Australian Astronomical Society ASA Information Sheet No.10 : ‘Purchasing’ Star Names
My Fellow Amateurs
Last Update : 26th February 2018
Southern Astronomical Delights © (2014)