Astronomy clubs and other public groups may submit names. The general public will then get to vote on proposed names.
The full process is as found on the website. http://www.nameexoworlds.org/
- July 2014: a list of 305 well-characterized exoplanets discovered prior to 31 December 2008, is selected for public naming by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) upon the recommendation of its Working Group Exoplanets for the Public. These exoplanets belong to 260 exoplanetary systems comprising one to five members, in addition to the host star. These systems and their host star together are here referred to as ExoWorlds. Their list is published on the NameExoWorlds.org website.
- October 2014: an IAU Directory for World Astronomy website (directory.iau.org) allows astronomy clubs and non-profit organisations interested in naming these ExoWorlds to register. The IAU will have the capability to handle the registration of thousands of such groups. Registration is compulsory.
- January 2015: clubs or non-profit organisations vote for the 20–30 top ExoWorlds they wish to name out of the list provided by the IAU. The actual number will depend on how many groups have registered.
- February 2015: clubs or non-profit organisations send in proposals for the names of members of these selected ExoWorlds (including the host star), based on the rules in the IAU Exoplanet Naming Theme, together with a detailed supporting argument for their choice. Each group is allowed to name only one ExoWorld. More details on this stage will be given later.
- June 2015: the general public votes to rank the proposed names. The IAU and Zooniverse will be ready to handle a million votes or more worldwide.
- July 2015: the IAU, via its Executive Committee Working Group on the Public Naming of Planets and Planetary Satellites, oversees the final stages of the contest, and validates the winning names from the vote.
- 3–14 August 2015: the results are announced at a special public ceremony held during the IAU XXIX General Assembly in Honolulu, USA.
The rules are constructed to preclude planet names from popular sci-fi franchises. For example I couldn't marshal a group of students to name Kepler 186 to Omicron Persei. A star already has that name in real life. Nor would a name inspired by Star Gate be acceptable. Legally the names have to be free for all humans to use forever.
A name astronomers would like:
A name astronomers will use should not be a gag name. Ideally it will be based on the physical properties of the star and planet.