- What is the Astro Ledger Institute?
The Astro Ledger Institute was founded in June 2018 with
a grant from The Awesome Foundation. Our mission is to provide
a platform for assigning and recording hand-picked names for stars,
while raising funds for important space projects. Get to
know us better by reading about our VISION
and meeting the TEAM.
- What’s the big deal?
At the moment, there are tons of awesome stars which are
known only by their scientific designation. Imagine if you
were known only by your government ID number! This makes it
really confusing to talk about interesting star systems.
You may wonder, “Who cares if star 2MASS J18525105+4520595
doesn’t have a name? Sounds booooring.” Well, that particular
star has two Earth-like planets in its habitable zone, which
means if we sent a spaceship out there we might find a new home
for humans or even alien life! As space missions become more
ambitious it is vital that people aren’t boggled by boring
names and instead come to appreciate our collective inheritance of the universe.
- Is there a private committee in charge of this already?
The volunteer astronomers at the International Astronomical
Union (IAU) do an excellent job of collecting and preserving
ancient historical star names. However, there are many awesome
astronomical objects that the IAU is not interested in naming
at all. And even when they do assign a name, they always
follow strict, traditional naming conventions. In this regard,
they are more like a museum of well-preserved artifacts
than a living history.
At the Astro Ledger Institute, we take a different perspective.
Star naming is a public activity which should embrace modern
culture it in all its glorious variety. The Astro Ledger
cards are a living story: regular people like you can use
them to build a narrative of the universe we live in. What
are the patterns and shapes we see in the sky? Which are the
stories we tell our children when we point to the stars?
- What makes Astro Ledger the best way to name stars?
The Astro Ledger Institute blockchain is the ONLY
decentralized, democratic, participatory astronomical
naming platform that exists. If you hope to bestow a
lasting name upon a star, your best option is the platform with
the most public participation, since ultimately the
important names are just those which are actually used!
- Why trading cards?
By naming star cards, you are helping us create a meaningful,
accessible, and interactive star catalog for future
generations of earth-people. Besides, it’s fun!
- Where does the grant money come from?
All fundraising is done with Ethereum cryptocurrency, providing you the full benefits of decentralization with top-notch
security. If you choose to sell your card in an auction,
5% of the closing price will be sent to our grants
program. When the Astro Ledger Institute itself puts a
card up for auction, 100% of the sale goes towards our
grants program. In the future we will give currency to
every new player so that anyone can participate.
Read more about our GRANTS program.
- Are you guys secretly Sith Lord space villains?
No, we are the good guys. Yes, that’s what Sith Lord space
villains would probably say as well... But thanks to the
power of blockchain you can track precisely how much ETH
goes to the Astro Ledger Institute - and then follow the
funds all the way to grant recipients. This level of
radical transparency has only become possible with
new blockchain technology. So why not come on over to the dark side?
- When will the next stars be released?
Sign up for our Supernova Alert
mailing list to be notified the moment new objects are
released. Stars are grouped by constellation: Every month
there will be a handful of constellations on offer,
including the one which corresponds to the upcoming Zodiac
sign. In general the brightest stars are released first,
since these are the ones which need cool names the most.
Messier objects are scheduled to be released two months
following the very first Astro Ledger auctions.
- I bought a card! Does this mean I own the star?!
When you buy an Astro Ledger trading card, we recognize
your naming rights to the star. However, you do not own
the star itself: nobody owns the stars, except perhaps
the aliens that already inhabit them! Space (and
everything in it) is the collective inheritance of all
people, and must be managed as a commons.
- I bought a card! What now?!
Congratulations! It is now up to you to learn its features
and history, investigate its neighbor stars and exoplanets,
and ultimately recognize it with a unique and meaningful
name. Maybe next you can try to collect one of each star
type! You could also gather up other stars in its asterism
(like every star in the Big Dipper) - or maybe you’ll be
inspired to create an entirely new asterism altogether.
- What is the difference between a star’s name and its designation?
Every star has a scientific alphanumeric designation (or several) used to systematically identify it in different bodies of research. This is analogous to your government ID number, and is not something that you can (or would want to) alter. On the other hand, a star’s proper name is what you might naturally call it while you’re staring at the night sky imagining it as the top button on a cat tuxedo. Different cultures across different eras have had many beautiful, conflicting names for the same stars, and this tradition will probably continue until the expansion of the universe pushes all the stars out of sight and finally puts a stop to the madness.
- What are the guidelines for naming my star?
You can name the star anything you want. That said, the Astro Ledger Institute does have a few suggestions.
Due to the nature of blockchain technology, nobody besides the card owner can edit the card’s name - not even the Astro Ledger Institute. However, if a name is flagged as offensive, we reserve the right to hide it from our website. We have a zero tolerance policy for racism, sexism, anthropocentric xenophobia, and similarly distasteful content. Currently this is handled on a case-by-case basis at the discretion of the Astro Ledger Institute, but if you have suggestions or want to alert us to bad content please do so here: email@example.com.
It is important to remember that giving a meaningful star name is as much about the community as it is about you. That is why the Astro Ledger website uses community voting and gilding to recognize stellar names. Additionally, we will award badges to discoverer-approved names and names with proven cultural-historical use. Just be careful not to pick a boring name, since the community is not likely to vote it up, it might not fetch as much at auction, and it might upset some aliens.