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It seems just about everyone has a hand in naming stars. While astronomers recognize a catalog number and set of coordinates for "official" star names, many of the brightest stars in the sky have their own common designation… or designations.
Many of the star names we know come from multiple sources, which is why many common stars have multiple names. For example, the North Star is also known Polaris or the Pole Star, but known in other languages as Alruccabah, Cynosura, Phoenice, Tramontana, Angel Stern, The Star of Arcady, Al-jadiyy, Dhruva, Yilduz, and Mismar. Another famous star, Vega, has been referred to as many different things by various cultures, including Dayan-same (Assyrian), Tir-anna (Accadian), Diligan (Babylonian), and Orihime (Japanese).
The name Vega is ultimately derived from Arabic, where many we get many of our common star names. Although, the original names and meanings were altered through translation. Many other star names are derived from Greek and Latin.
So when you name your own star, you are essentially embarking on a task begun at the dawn of civilization. And considering the sheer number of stars in our galaxy alone (often estimated at 200 billion or more), there is still plenty of work to do.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|