If you are looking to honor a loved one who has passed away with a unique memorial, consider naming a star after them. This thoughtful and lovely gesture will not only allow the deceased person's spirit to shine bright and illuminate the night sky, it is also a lasting way to remember the life of someone very precious.
Creating a Memorial: Name a Star
Anyone can pay a fee to name a star as a memorial to a deceased loved one via a star registry. For example, bereaved parents often purchase stars in their deceased child's name, as grandchildren also often do for their grandparents who have died. The process is simple to do and costs between $20 and $200, depending on the registry and package selected. Keep in mind that the star registries do not actually own the stars, no one can own celestial bodies, so it cannot actually sell them. But these companies can help you "name" a star in the galaxy as a memorial to a loved one.
International Star Registry
The International Star Registry (ISR), the first company to offer star registration, has been helping individuals with naming and dedicating stars to loved ones since 1970. With ISR, you will be able to choose the constellation your star is located in and have the name recorded in ISR's Your Place in the Cosmos book that lists all of the stars named by the registry. You'll also receive a certificate and chart that shows the exact name and coordinates of your named star. Their packages range from $54 to $155.
Based in the United States, Star-Name-Registry.org offers a variety of star name packages appropriate to use as memorials for loved ones who have passed away. Their standard star package starts at just under $20 and includes a registered name, star map, and confirmation letter. You can pay extra (around $40) to name an extra-bright star or name a binary pair of stars (around $70), which would be a lovely memorial for a deceased couple. Gift sets featuring frames and presentation boxes are also available.
Global Star Registry
Based in Sweden, Global Star Registry also offers individuals a chance to name a star after someone they love who has passed away. For $108, you will receive a certificate and map showing the name and location of the star you named for the deceased individual, as well as a pendant engraved with the constellation and its exact coordinates. Higher-end packages are also available. Their packages cost between $108 and $199.
Star Registries vs. Scientifically-Named Stars
About 350 of the galaxy's brightest stars have been given scientific names, a practice started by ancient Greeks and Romans. As technology advanced, the task of naming stars became daunting and too large to undertake on a widespread basis. The astronomical community still names constellations, asteroids, and meteorites as it sees fit. But scientifically, stars are simply named by their physical coordinates. When a person names a star after a loved one, that honoree's name does not become the scientific name of the star.
Scientifically Named Stars
Some of the more well-known scientifically named stars include:
Star Registry Names
When you go through a star registry to name a star after someone, that does not change the star's official scientific name, which is always represented by its coordinates in space. They are named on paper only, as stars and other celestial bodies can only officially be named by the International Astronomical Union. A star's scientific name cannot be changed, as stars' locations are used for scientific research and by all of the international space programs.
Memorializing a Loved One With a Star
Naming a star after a loved one is a meaningful option to memorialize someone you love. Just imagine having a star in the galaxy "named" after a deceased friend or family member. You'll think fondly of the one you love who is no longer with you on earth when you gaze at the night sky.