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The selling of stars is a business practice that is frowned upon

The sparkling effect of some stars can be explained by different phenomena.
The selling of stars is a business practice that is frowned upon

Some companies worldwide are registering stars in your name or someone else’s for a fee and claiming this registration is somehow official. Those companies are simply after your money.

The Montreal Planetarium opposes and discourages the selling and naming of stars. We endorse and follow the recommendations of the International Astronomical Union (IAU), which has posted an interesting FAQ on this topic on its web site. The IAU establishes and oversees celestial objects' nomenclature rules (planets and their moons, craters and other formations on the surface of celestial bodies, asteroids, comets, etc.).

Millions of invisible stars sourced from databases

Indeed, anyone can get hold of a database of millions of stars (through the Internet, for example) and start “selling” them one by one. Of course, that means the same stars (especially the few thousand brightest ones visible to the naked eye) could be “sold” by different companies (or even the same company) to different people.

To put it bluntly, if you bought a star from these companies, you could never point to the sky and say, “That one’s mine.” You’d need at least binoculars and probably a telescope to locate and single out “your” star from the thousands of other points of light, a task even seasoned amateur astronomers might find difficult.

The stars belong to everyone

If you’re still bent on “buying” a star, you’ll find more than enough information on the Web (companies in this business are easy to find). But we urge you to remember that stars are not for sale.

Finally, some serious and renowned institutions have been “selling” stars for fundraising purposes. But they clearly state that the sale is symbolic and has no legal or scientific meaning. In such cases, there is of course no exclusivity : it is clearly a symbolic gesture and the program must be considered as a charitable activity.

For more information

Buying Stars and Star Names - International Astronomical Union

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