If you are looking to honor a loved one with a memorial, name a star after him or her. This gesture will not only allow the deceased person's spirit to shine every night, it is also a lasting way to honor the life of someone very precious.
History of Naming Stars
About 350 of the galaxy's brightest stars have been given scientific names, a practice that started in ancient times by the Greeks, Romans and Arabs, but stopped in the 1950s. As technology advanced, the task of naming stars became daunting and too large to undertake. The astronomical community still names constellations, asteroids and meteorites as it sees fit. But scientifically, stars are simply named by its latitude and longitude coordinates. Some of the more popular stars' names include:
About Star Registries
For almost three decades, star registries have enabled individuals to have stars named after people they love, both living and deceased. Celebrities such as Nicole Kidman, Johnny Depp and even the late-Princess Diana all have stars named after them. Bereaved parents purchase stars in their deceased children's names, just as grandchildren do for their grandparents who have died. The process is simple to do and cost between $50 and $100.
Not a Scientific Process?
However, individuals who purchase them need to realize that the stars -- of which there are about one trillion in the galaxy -- are not scientifically named. They are named on paper only, as stars and other celestial bodies can only officially be named by the International Astronomical Union. According to its Web site, stars are scientifically named according to their coordinates in space. These stars' names cannot be changed as their locations are used for scientific research and by all of the international space programs.
Creating a Memorial: Name a Star
Even if star registrations are not exactly scientific, the sentiment behind the gesture is thoughtful and lovely. Imagine having a star in the galaxy "named" after your deceased friend or family member, especially one who may have loved astronomy and space!
International Star Registry
Since 1979, the International Star Registry, a memorial name a star company, has been helping individuals with naming and dedicating stars to loved ones. Since ISR does not actually own the stars -- no one can own celestial bodies -- it cannot sell them. But the company can help you pick a star in the galaxy and have it "named" for your loved one. By choosing ISR, you can:
- Choose the constellation where your star will be located
- Have the name recorded in the ISR's Your Place in the Cosmos book that lists all of the stars named by the registry
- Receive a certificate and chart that shows the exact name and coordinates of your named star
- Choose a name not more than 35 letters and that falls within the company's decency policy for names
- View your star with a telescope at some point during the year
MyStar Global Star Registry
Based in Sweden, MyStar Global Star Registry company also offers individuals a chance to name a star after someone they love. For $108, you will receive a certificate and map showing the name and location of your star, as well as a pendant engraved with the constellation and its exact coordinates. This registry also:
- Donates 5 percent of its profits to several charities including UNICEF
- Places your named star in global registry book
- Offers a full refund within 14 days of purchase
A Final Note
Naming a star after a loved one is only one way to honor someone who has died. But remember, it isn't what you do, it's the thought behind the gesture that counts most.