New Star And Exo-Planet Given Bhutanese Names – Gakyid & Drukyul


The winning names were proposed by Dron Chhetri, a student of Bhutan’s Motithang Higher Secondary School.

(Source: Jheison Huerta)


By Staff Reporter | Kuensel

Coinciding with Bhutan’s 112th National Day and in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the International Astronomical Union (IAU), Bhutan approved the names of the Exo-planet HD73534b which orbits around the star HD73534, in the constellation of Cancer.

Drukyul and Gakyid are the pair of Bhutanese names selected for the Exoplanet and its host star.

The names were chosen out of the three best pairs of names, which were subsequently sent to the International Astronomical Union for the final selection. 

The winning names were proposed by Dron Chhetri, a student of Bhutan’s Motithang Higher Secondary School.

What does Drukyul and Gakyid mean?

Planet Drukyul is named after Bhutan - the land of the thunder dragon while the star, Gakyid is derived from the country’s philosophy of Gross National Happiness, which represents Bhutan’s contribution to the world.

Photo: International Astronomical Union


According to a press release from the Telecom and Space division with the Information and Communication Ministry, these names are associated with happiness and symbols of the national identity of Bhutan - the birthplace of Gross National Happiness.

According to the IAU, which is responsible for assigning official designations and names to celestial bodies, thousands of exo-planets have been discovered orbiting other stars over the past three decades.

It is an honour that Bhutan has been assigned to name the sun-like star and the exoplanet which orbits around it.

Names selection process

A National Committee for the ‘NameExoWorlds’ Project (Bhutan) was formed and the national campaign was conducted in two phases.

In the first phase (16-20 November), people were asked to come up with names.

A total of 39 pairs of names were received from the public from which eight pairs of names were shortlisted by the National Committee.

The selected names were then put up for public voting at the Department of Information and Telecom website from 21-25 November 2019.

The National Committee met again on 25 November to select the top three names voted by the public. In total, 531 public votes were received.


Photo: BBS


Meanwhile, more than 100,000 people from more than 110 countries took part in naming about 110 set of explorers and host stars. The selected names were announced on 17 December in Paris.

Significance of naming these new stars and planets

Each nation’s designated star for naming is visible from that country, and is sufficiently bright enough to be observed through small telescopes.

The IAU100 NameExoWorlds campaign provided the public with the exciting opportunity to help with the naming of over 100 new worlds and their stars.

In turn, this helped the IAU establish a thoughtful naming theme for naming future discoveries in those systems.

“It is gratifying that so many people across the globe have helped create a name for a planetary system that is meaningful to their culture and heritage. This effort helps unite us all in our exploration of the Universe,” said Debra Elmegreen, the IAU President-elect.


This article first appeared in Kuensel and has been edited for Daily Bhutan.



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