Astro Ledger

FAQ

Quick Start | General | Space | Blockchain | Wallets & Auctions

Quick Start

NOTE: If you don't have a digital wallet yet, first scroll down to Wallets & Auctions.

Quick Start: Buying

  1. Go to the Marketplace. Some stars are available to “Buy Now.” The rest are on auction and open for bidding.
  2. Place a bid on a card:
    • Type your bid amount and click "Place Bid" (must be equal to or greater than the stated "Minimum Bid")
    • Click "Submit" in the Metamask window
    • Wait patiently for the network to register your bid on the blockchain
  3. While you are the high bidder, the card will appear under MY BIDS. It will disappear from this page if you are outbid, so keep a record of the card URL if you wish to track the auction. The ETH you bid will be locked into the contract, and will stay locked in until the auction ends or you are outbid by another player.
  4. NOTE: To outbid you, another player must bid at least 10% above your bid.
  5. When an auction ends, the buyer or seller must make a closing transaction by clicking “Finalize Auction.” Whoever clicks this will be charged a small transaction fee called “gas” which goes to Ethereum network security.
  6. Congratulations, you won the card! It will now appear under MY DECK.

Quick Start: Naming

  1. Go to MY DECK to see the cards you can name. Cards cannot have their name changed while still on auction, or before the auction is finalized.
  2. Type the desired name into the name field and click "Change Name."
  3. Click "Submit" in the Metamask window. You will be charged a small transaction fee called “gas” which goes to Ethereum network security.
  4. WARNING: If you change the card’s name, you will reset all favorites on the card. This cannot be undone, even if you change the name back.
  5. Congratulations, you changed the name! Now it is eligible to collect favorites.

Quick Start: Selling

  1. To sell a card, you must select both its starting price and the duration of the auction.
  2. WARNING: Once the first bid is placed, you may no longer cancel the auction. However, you may cancel the sale at any time before this.
  3. When an auction ends, the buyer or seller must make a closing transaction by clicking “Finalize Auction.” Whoever clicks this will be charged a small transaction fee called “gas” which goes to Ethereum network security.
  4. If you set the auction duration to 0, the card will be immediately available as “Buy Now.” Likewise, if your auction time expires without any bids, the card will be automatically relisted as "Buy Now." You may still edit or cancel the listing at any time before the card is sold.
  5. Congratulations, you have sold the card! Your ether will now appear under My Balance and you may withdraw your returns. If you plan to bid again, you may consider leaving it, since this balance will be automatically applied to future bids without costing additional gas.

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General

  1. What is the Astro Ledger Institute?
  2. 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 GRANTS and meeting the TEAM.

  3. What’s the big deal?
  4. 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.

  5. Is there a private committee in charge of this already?
  6. 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?

  7. What makes Astro Ledger the best way to name stars?
  8. 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!

  9. Why trading cards?
  10. 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!

  11. Where does the grant money come from?
  12. 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.

  13. Are you guys secretly Sith Lord space villains?
  14. 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?

  15. When will the next stars be released?
  16. 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.

  17. I bought a card! Does this mean I own the star?!
  18. 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.

  19. I bought a card! What now?!
  20. 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.

  21. What is the difference between a star’s name and its designation?
  22. 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.

  23. What are the guidelines for naming my star?
  24. You can name the star anything you want. That said, the Astro Ledger Institute does have a few suggestions.

    • Make it pronounceable (in some language)
    • Try for one word, and not too long
    • Don’t make it annoyingly similar to other names
    • If it has a forgotten name from some other time or culture, use that name!
    • The name should be meaningful (especially if the star has a cool story)
    • Don’t be a jerk by selecting an offensive name
    • Don’t pollute Astro Ledger with your corporate marketing astroturf

  25. What if somebody picks an offensive star name?
  26. 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: spacepatrol@astroledger.org.

  27. What if I pick a star name that is truly ingenious?
  28. 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.


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Space

  1. Where did you come up with your star database?
  2. The Astro Ledger Institute uses the HYG 3.0 database, a compilation of data from the Hipparcos Catalogue, the Yale Bright Star Catalogue (5th Edition), and the Gliese Catalogue of Nearby Stars (3rd Edition). The code used to identify each unique object on the blockchain is that object’s standard designation from the Henry Draper Catalogue.

  3. Aren’t there too many stars to name?
  4. Yes, there are a lot of stars. In fact, there are about 250 billion stars just in our galaxy - and there are at least two trillion galaxies, maybe more. At the Astro Ledger Institute, we aspire only to name the stars that are most interesting to us here on Earth. There are about 200,000 stars visible with 50mm binoculars, and roughly nine thousand of those are visible to the naked eye. Those are the ones we are launching first - the very brightest stars that you can see from your own backyard!

  5. What if my star explodes?
  6. Stars are in fact constantly evolving and not at all permanent, but these changes take millions of years. Hopefully yours won’t supernova anytime soon ... unless that's what you’re into ( ͡º ͜ʖ ͡º)

  7. Catalog or Catalogue?
  8. Actually that’s just American English vs British English.


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I CAN HAZ BLOCKCHAIN

  1. What is blockchain technology?
  2. A blockchain is a distributed public ledger that enables property rights to be securely transferred without a middleman. It is like a big public chart about who owns what: Everybody in the world can look at this chart, but if you want to update it, everybody has to agree. That means that if you make a transaction, it is broadcast to the entire network for verification and then everyone makes the same update to their copy of the chart. In this process, your individual transaction is bundled into a group of transactions (or “block”). The ledger is just a public chronological record (or “chain”) of these blocks.

  3. What makes blockchain more secure than other technologies?
  4. Blockchain transactions (like star-naming on Astro Ledger) are among the most tamper-resistant records ever made. That is because changing a star name would require the bad guy to alter not just one transaction but every single other transaction recorded on top of it - and not just in one centralized database, but on hundreds of sovereign computers all over the world that hold copies of the public ledger.

  5. Is my identity private if my transactions are on the blockchain?
  6. On the blockchain, your wallet ID is always public, but your identity remains anonymous unless you choose to share it. Sharing your identity is a powerful tool for financial transparency, as demonstrated by the Astro Ledger Institute grants fund.

  7. What are crypto-collectibles?
  8. You may have heard of cryptocurrencies by now - e.g. Bitcoin or Ethereum. These currencies are built on blockchain technology. The Astro Ledger trading cards are a new kind of asset in this ecosystem, often called a “crypto-collectible.” This is similar to cryptocurrency in that it runs on blockchain technology, but different because each card represents a unique token instead of a fungible (mutually interchangeable) coin. Since the cards are registered on the blockchain, ownership of the card is broadcast to the public; this makes duplicates and fraudulent ownership impossible, so Astro Ledger cards can be securely collected and auctioned off like normal trading cards.

  9. What is ether (ETH)? Why do I need it to participate in auctions?
  10. Ether is the cryptocurrency used on the Ethereum blockchain. Astro Ledger trading cards are built on top of the Ethereum blockchain, thus you must use the ether cryptocurrency (ETH) to interact with them. ETH can be bought, sold, and converted into different currencies through an exchange, just like you can exchange USD or EUR or CNY while traveling between different countries.

  11. What is luminiferous aether? Why don’t I need it to participate in auctions?
  12. A long time ago scientists used to think that space was filled with an invisible substance called luminiferous aether that light would travel through. This is actually what the cryptocurrency Ethereum was named after! If you can find some luminiferous aether and use it to participate in Astro Ledger auctions then the whole team will be very impressed.


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Wallets & Auctions

PART 1: Getting a wallet & filling it with ether (ETH)

  1. How do I get started?
  2. First of all, you’ll need a safe place to store your Astro Ledger cards. The easiest way is with a secure digital wallet like MetaMask or Portis. Logging into your wallet through one of these apps automatically allows you to view and interact with the cards on auction in the gallery (no extra password needed). After downloading a wallet, you will add the digital currency ether (ETH) to it. Be sure to treat your digital wallet with care, the same way you would treat your bank account information.

  3. Download Metamask:
    • Make sure you are using a compatible browser: Metamask is only available as an add-on to Chrome, Firefox, Opera, or Brave. If you have one of these, continue - otherwise, first please install a compatible browser.
    • Download Metamask by following their link to the appropriate app store for your browser.
    • Once you have successfully installed Metamask, you will see an adorable tiny fox face at the top right of your internet browser. Click that adorable fox icon.

  4. Creating a Metamask Wallet:
    • Read and agree to the Metamask terms & conditions.
    • Click on the “create new vault” or “create new wallet” button.
    • Enter a strong password (really long passwords are strong).
    • Metamask will now give you a “seed phrase.” This is VERY IMPORTANT. You must copy and safely store those 12 words. They are like your username and master password all in one. If you lose those words then you risk losing access to your account even if you remember the password.
    • In the top left hand corner of the Metamask screen, there is a button that can switch between different networks. Make sure you have selected the one that says “Main Ethereum Network.” Congrats, you are now plugged into the Ethereum blockchain! Now you can view the Astro Ledger auctions.

  5. Adding money to your wallet:
    • Your digital wallet only holds digital currency. So you will need to convert some money into ether (ETH) in order to add funds to your wallet (or just have a friend send you some). If you are a U.S. citizen, you can buy ETH directly in Metamask. Otherwise, you will need to buy ETH from an exchange, and then transfer your ETH to your Metamask account.
    • To transfer funds from an exchange, click the “...” next to your Metamask account name and then “copy address to clipboard.” Go to your exchange and paste this address in the “withdraw” box with the amount of ETH you want to send yourself. Wait for a few minutes and then check that your Metamask account balance has updated. Congrats, you are ready to start naming stars!

PART 2: The fun stuff

  1. How do I pick a star to bid on?
  2. You can sort relevant auctions by keywords or things like end date and price. Look at each star's stats to pick one that's right for you. Some players prefer bright stars, some prefer stars which are close to Earth, and some prefer really big or hot stars.

  3. How much does it cost to buy a card?
  4. That depends on the card! All prices are listed in ETH. Popular cards might be more expensive if more people bid on them - but if you look, you should be able to find one in your price range.

  5. What if I lose an auction to another bidder?
  6. Oh no, sorry you lost it! But don’t worry, there are many more awesome stars in the sky to choose from. The ETH you were going to spend is still available too: you can reuse that to bid on another star (no action required - it will automatically be applied towards your next bid), or you can simply withdraw the balance back into your Metamask wallet on your My Balance page. Note that Ethereum charges a small transaction fee (gas) to withdraw, so if you plan to bid again you should consider leaving the ether in your account.

  7. Should I put my card up for auction?
  8. Only if you are really prepared to say goodbye. Remember, the new card owner can change the name you selected for your star. And due to blockchain technology, all Astro Ledger sales are irreversible.

  9. Can I give my card to a friend, or trade it for another card?
  10. Soon! The Astro Ledger team is working hard to make these features available so that you can send cool Astro Ledger cards to all your space-obsessed buddies.

  11. What is gas?
  12. The universal transaction fee is called “gas” - that is the fee you pay for using the Ethereum network, and it goes straight to Ethereum miners to verify transactions and keep the network secure. Every action with ETH has a “gas” fee, including initiating, canceling, and finalizing auctions, bidding, and naming the stars that you own. If you submitted a transaction but set your gas price too low, you may have to wait a very long time for it to be processed! If you are in a rush then you can increase the gas price and miners will process your transactions faster. It may take a minute or two for transactions to go through.

  13. What percentage of the auction sale is donated to the Astro Ledger Institute?
  14. All successful Astro Ledger card auctions have a transaction fee that goes to the Astro Ledger Institute to fund our grants program. This fee is 5% and is automatically included in the total value you see while bidding. Pay attention to the card seller: When cards are being sold directly by the Astro Ledger Institute, 100% of your bid is a donation. So if you want to find those shark aliens on Europa, keep an eye out!

  15. Ready to get some cards?
  16. Check out the Quick Start guide to build up your very own star collection!


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