What It Means to Register a Galaxy at WPO

Windowpane Observatory has established on the World Wide Web a registry of names for galaxies in the universe that were previously unnamed. The vast majority of galaxies in the perceivable universe have no names. Of course, for astronomers this does not present a problem since physicists refer to celestial objects by their astronomical catalog number.

These numbers along with the celestial coordinates are then input into the targeting computer of the telescope and the instrument automatically slews to the object. For example, the most famous galaxy outside the Milky Way is the Andromeda Galaxy, named after the constellation Andromeda in which it is found. But astronomers refer to the Andromeda by it's catalog number. In the Messier Catalog of objects Andromeda's catalog number is M31. In the New General Astronomical Catalog Andromeda's catalog number is NGC 224.

So on the one hand, a heretofore unnamed galaxy will still be referred to by astronomers by its number depending on what catalog is employed. The naming of celestial objects does not change either their generic name nor their SAO number, NGC number, or other catalogue number.

On the other hand, these anonymous galaxies containing black holes, supernovae, open and globular clusters and billions and billions of stars will now be named in this registry.

WPO began naming galaxies in 1996. Read the history of WPO Name a Galaxy here.

If you have further questions, please contact us via telephone at 505-463-8360 or via email.