Space scene with nebula and stars (Illustrative image)

Czech Republic names new star, exoplanet after Czech writer Karel Čapek’s works

The exoplanet and star the IAU have allotted to the Czech Republic will bear the names Makropulos and Absolutno after writer Karel Čapek

Prague, Dec 17 (CTK) – The exoplanet the International Astronomical Union has “allotted” to Czechia will bear the name Makropulos, and the star it orbits will be Absolutno, both names being inspired by Czech novelist and playwright Karel Čapek’s (1890-1938) works, the Czech Academy of Sciences said today.

Exoplanets are planets outside the Solar System. Makropulos, named after the female protagonist of Čapek’s play The Makropulos Affair, is a bit larger than Jupiter and formed by hot gases.

It orbits Absolutno, the XO-5 star in the Lynx constellation, which the Czechs named after Čapek’s novel The Absolute at Large (Tovarna na absolutno), much more quickly than the Earth orbits the Sun. One day on Makropulos lasts about four terrestrial days.

Assessing the public’s proposals in the past months, the scientific commission shortlisted nine names for the star and nine for the planet.

Finally, the winning names were chosen recently, beating those of Vysehrad, Krkonose (Giant Mountains), Happiness, Hope, Snezka (the highest Czech mountain), Lime Tree or Ctyrlistek (four-leaf-clover, also the name of a popular comics for children).

Hundreds of Czech and Czech-related names “move” in outer space already. For example, asteroids Andel and Grygar bear the names of significant Czech astronomers, while Masaryk, Hus, Palach, Komensky, Hasler, Jirous, Zikmund and others refer to Czech history.

Asteroids named after Czech towns such as Prague, Vsetin and Litomysl can also be seen on the sky, as can the Kohoutek comet, named after the discoverer of several comets and dozens of asteroids.

On the Moon, there are craters Dvorak, Janacek and Smetana, named after the most famous Czech composers, and on Venus, there are craters named after Czech 19th-century female writer Bozena Nemcova and after contemporary Czech scientists’ female family members, Vlasta and Hanka.

The Paris-seated International Astronomical Union “distributed” exoplanets among all its member states on the occasion of its 100th birth anniversary in June.

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