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Designations and Nomenclature of Celestial Objects

IAU Rules and Recommendations

The latest IAU Style Manual is printed as IAU Transactions Vol. XXB, p. S1-S50. The recommendations concerning good publication practice referred to above are taken from that edition of the Style Manual. An updated version, taking into account the development of electronic publication techniques, is under consideration. If and when such a document will exist, information about and a link to it will be provided here.

Naming new objects

IAU Commission 5 is in charge of making recommendations for the choice of designations for newly discovered celestial objects that will minimise the problems of confusing or overlapping designations in the astronomical literature.

Guidelines for assigning scientific working names to celestial objects outside the Solar system are available from the following reference: Nomenclature for Celestial Objects in Astronomical Literature

Designation of newly discovered objects in the solar system involves a range of events, from discoveries made by billion-dollar spacecraft to potentially bright comets first caught by keen amateurs with small telescopes or even binoculars. The scientific and public interests and the time scales for useful reactions are quite different in the two cases. Consequently, two IAU Working Groups are responsible for assigning names to solar-system objects:

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