Buying a Star
What Do I Need To Know?


Before you part with your money, you may want to ask these questions:

Is it possible for an ordinary citizen to buy a star?

Will my star be listed in any officially recognized catalog?

Would it be possible for an astronomer to locate my star, and show it to me in a telescope?

Will my star have a long-lasting name?

Both the International Planetarium Society and the British Royal Observatory in Greenwich, England have provided answers to these questions. Here are two excerpts.

International Planetarium Society Official Statement on Star Naming
"The star names recognized and used by scientists are those that have been established through long- time usage or published by astronomers at credible scientific institutions. The International Astronomical Union, the worldwide federation of astronomical societies, accepts and uses only those names. Such names are never sold". Click here to see the full statement.

British Royal Observatory Greenwich, England
"The Royal Observatory Greenwich is often asked how stars may be named after individuals. There are commercial firms who will, for a sum, prepare certificates which appear to name a star, or other celestial body, after someone living or dead. Unfortunately the name so-given has no authorization and will not be used by astronomers. Such names are never sold." Click here to see the full statement.

Further reading
The classic reference for the naming of stars is "Star Names: Their Lore and Meaning" by Richard Hinckley Allen. It is available at most libraries. You can see excerpts of this classic here.

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Maintained by Ray Shapp
Page last updated 04/15/2005