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Thread: International Star Registry

  1. #61
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    Hi, R.A.F. Let me try to address the points you bring up.
    Quote Originally Posted by R.A.F.
    Sounds like you're the one "making the assumption".
    "Assumption" is your word, not mine. I said "estimate". And yes, I am the one making an estimate. An estimate is the only way to go since an accurate count of that many stars would be impractical.
    Quote Originally Posted by R.A.F.
    What do you suppose these companies will do when they "run out" of stars.
    I don't know what they will do. I could assume that they will recycle the names which would be a scam. But to assume that in the future that someone will commit a scam is not evidence that they are currently running a scam. I would guess that if they ran out of stars they would start using magnitude 11 stars.
    Quote Originally Posted by R.A.F.
    Please point out the "fun" part...I seem to be missing it...
    To play Devil's advocate means to bring up the other side of an issue, without necessarily being on that side. There's many reasons a person might want to play Devil's advocate. Lawers do it all the time to help anticipate what the other side is thinking. In this case, I do it because having a spirited debate can be fun. I could argue both sides of this issue. But I look at this thread and see a one-sided argument. For the sake of a spirited debate, I bring up points on the other side. But people seem to want to trash me for bringing up the other side of the issue, rather than argue against the issues I raise, or the questions I ask. The exception is Gillianren who correctly made me realize that I should not have used the word "guaranteed" since it implies that every girl would react the same way. So you're right. Because people are trashing me instead of the points I make, it isn't actually any fun.

    Quote Originally Posted by R.A.F.
    "A real name"?? What does that mean??
    It means something like Bob or Fred, or California, or Sedna, rather than something commonly referred to as a designation like 2003UB313, or HD12345.

    Does anybody here have any idea of how many stars have been named after people, or how many available stars there are? Without knowing this, any opinion that they're currently being recycled, or that they will one day run out is baseless.

  2. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by tony873004
    "Assumption" is your word, not mine. I said "estimate". And yes, I am the one making an estimate.
    Unless/until you can provide a basis for your estimate, I will call it as I see it...an assumption.

    But to assume that in the future that someone will commit a scam is not evidence that they are currently running a scam.
    Of course not...but we have ample evidence that it is a SCAM right now. That evidence is the fact that there are people willing to pay $50 for a certificate that they can print up on their home computer. The company strongly implies that the names are official, when in reality the only ones who will "recognize" it are the others who have spent $50.

    ...I look at this thread and see a one-sided argument.
    That's because there is only one side to this argument.

    But people seem to want to trash me for bringing up the other side of the issue, rather than argue against the issues I raise, or the questions I ask.
    The "devils advocate" ideas you have presented are unreasonable and that's what I've said...just how is that "trashing" you??

    Does anybody here have any idea of how many stars have been named after people, or how many available stars there are? Without knowing this, any opinion that they're currently being recycled, or that they will one day run out is baseless.
    It's your claim...you are going to have to do your own "homework".
    The facts, gentlemen, and nothing but the facts, for careful eyes are narrowly watching. Isaac Asimov

  3. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by R.A.F.
    It's your claim...
    No. Read the order of the posts. It was aurora who originally said "For one thing, the same star has been sold by multiple companies, all doing a similar scam. "

    Nobody suggested Aurora do his/her homework. That's why I say this argument is one-sided. One side can say anything they want without providing references and go unquestioned.


    Why do I feel like I'm being trashed? Because people say things like:
    "I really can't imagine why anyone would defend the star naming scammers" when I never defended them, and "So why are you saying that ISR's scam should be the official scam?" when I never said that either. Don't you see the attitude in your responses "Please point out the "fun" part...I seem to be missing it... "? and "you are going to have to do your own "homework".


    People could be replying with answers like:
    *The IAU has the authority because...

    *Even though more people than just astronomers enjoy the stars, astronomers have the right to designate the official naming body because...

    Then they would be addressing the questions I asked without putting words in my mouth and aiming their attitudes at me. That's why I feel like I'm being trashed.

    That's because there is only one side to this argument.
    Then how come the ISR hasn't been shut down by now? It's because there is another side to the argument. Any prosecutor knows if they tried to charge the ISR with fraud that the other side to the argument would be presented and the prosecution would lose. And keep in mind, me pointing out that another side to the argument exists is not the same as me endorsing their argument.

    you are going to have to do your own "homework".
    According to http://www.wired.com/news/business/0,1367,49345,00.html the ISR has sold over a million star names. How many is this exactly? I don't know but it is probably fewer than 2 million or they would have said that instead. The article is 5 years old, so perhaps it is approaching 2 million by now.
    In my 8 inch telescope with the 26mm eyepiece I have a field of view of about 0.4 square degrees. I can see stars down to about magnitude 10. Maybe a little fainter if I had a dark sky. When I point my telescope at a patch of sky that appears to the naked-eye as being empty, I can see at least 5 stars in each field of view. If I point my telescope at a random patch of sky, 10 stars is more likely. I can get as high as 200 stars per field of view if I point at a star cluster, or thousands if I point at a globular cluster. Or about 20 if I randomly cruise through the bright Milky Way band.
    The sky contains 41253 square degrees. So there are 93,378 fields of view in the total sky. If we use 10 as an average number of stars per field of view, That's nearly 1 million stars. This suggests that they have indeed run out of stars magnitude 10 and brighter. Or perhaps they are close to running out if I use a number other than 10. But if they simply use stars as faint as mag 12, there are 10s of millions of stars at their disposal. If they run out of those, the simply swich magnitudes again. They needn't ever run out.

  4. #64
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    Here is the number of stars by magnitude .

    [Added: Here is another table showing lower estimates based on greater formulation.]
    Last edited by George; 2006-Jan-31 at 02:45 PM.
    We know time flies, we just can't see its wings.

  5. #65
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    It's all a gimmick. You never legally name a star. I've had something similar here. Besides, something so beautiful isn't worth $50 to have it named after something. Stars are priceless in my opinion.

  6. #66
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    Thank you for that list George. I tried to Google for something similar but couldn't find anything.

    Do my homework, part 2
    But there are more than enough stars for everybody who wants to buy the name of one.
    This is from the IAU's page denouncing companies such as the ISR.
    http://www.iau.org/BUYING_STAR_NAMES.244.0.html

  7. #67
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    Very appropriate link, tony.

    They have some interesting comments in their Q&A that are enjoyable to see.

    Q: Surely the courts will recognize the name I have paid for??

    A: Try to contact your lawyers. Chances are that they will either laugh their heads off or politely suggest that you could invest their fees more productively...


    Q: OK, I found a dealer myself; what will I get from them?

    A: An expensive piece of paper and a temporary feeling of happiness, like if you take a cup of tea instead of the Doctor's recommended medicine. But at least you do not risk getting sick by paying for a star name, only losing money.
    We know time flies, we just can't see its wings.

  8. #68
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    Cool Star names

    Barnard's Star
    Kapteyn's Ster
    Van Biesbroeck's Ster
    Wolf catalogue
    Gliese catalogue
    Henry Draper catalogue
    Lalande catalogue

    Can anybody think of other stars that were officially named after people?
    Last edited by Halcyon Dayz; 2006-Feb-08 at 02:00 AM.

  9. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by tony873004
    You know, or you assume? Since you claim to know, can you provide a reference for this? How many star names have been sold by all the companies combined? How many stars of magnitude 10 or brighter are there?

    By the way, I could be wrong. I don't know these answers either. I do have a good estimate on the number of stars mag 10 and brighter, and it seems too high to me for them to ever run out of stars unless this name selling business really caught on.
    I know.

    I have had people bring 12th magnitude stars to our observatory that they had "purchased".

    There are only about 600,000 stars of 10th magnitude or brighter. (edited number because I read the able wrong).

    I know that there are multiple companies that sell stars, but I do not know how many have been sold. In a different message I think you stated that ISR had sold more than a million. I suspect that some of their competitors have sold similar numbers, but even if they had sold only half as many then all the stars of 10th mag and brighter would have already been sold multiple times.

    I have heard stories about even dimmer stars being "sold", down to 14th magnitude. And some of them were not even real stars.

    Clearly, they sold all the stars on common star charts like Sky Atlas 2000 (which goes down to mag 8.5 if I remember correctly) a long time ago.

    Actually, there is nothing to prevent ISR from selling the same star to more than one person. I do not know if they have done that yet, but I don't think their adverts say anything that would prevent them from doing that.

    Edited to add quote from IAU:

    The name you paid for can be ignored, forgotten, or sold again to anyone else by anyone at any time.

  10. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by tony873004
    But if they simply use stars as faint as mag 12, there are 10s of millions of stars at their disposal. If they run out of those, the simply swich magnitudes again. They needn't ever run out.
    Actually, around 5 million (see the link that George provided).

    Since I have seen a mag 14 star that was "sold", I would guess they are already past mag 12.

    Edited to add: Just had a thought, do they only sell stars visible from the Northern Hemisphere? If so, that would reduce the available pool. Although with a magnitude 14 star, it doesn't matter much because most people that buy one will never see it, even if they have a big enough telescope it takes a lot of accuracy to find and identify a mag 14 star.

  11. #71
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    this link:
    http://home.carolina.rr.com/nirgal/buyastar.html
    tells the story of an astronomer who had to use a source that went down to 15th magnitude to find the star.

    More links:

    http://www.enzerink.net/peter/astronomy/starfaq/

    http://www.aoas.org/article.php?stor...612&mode=print

    Also saw some references to past court cases where one star naming company has sued another.

  12. #72
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    Yes, it looks like about 13th or 14th magnitude instead of 12 before the available stars are in the 10s of millions.

    That's a good point about northern hemisphere stars. About a quarter to a third of all stars are not visible at all from mid-latitudes, and the number shrinks for higher latitudes where a lot of Europe resides. You'd have to live at the equator for all stars to be technically visible, and even there, your view of the polar stars would not be good.

  13. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by aurora
    Actually, around 5 million (see the link that George provided).
    I found, I suspect, a more accurate table. The first link simply multiplied the prior cound by 2.91 for each gain in magnitude.

    This star count table seems to be more accurate. The "Count" column is accumlative and has much fewer stars per magnitude than the prior site.

    Since I have seen a mag 14 star that was "sold", I would guess they are already past mag 12.
    Wow. That would have to be some kind of rip-off record if they sold that many star names (I presume, 2nd only to credit card companies charging > 20% interest. ).
    We know time flies, we just can't see its wings.

  14. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by George
    Wow. That would have to be some kind of rip-off record if they sold that many star names (I presume, 2nd only to credit card companies charging > 20% interest. ).
    They have been selling stars (various companies) for more than 20 years (I found documents that they were doing it before 1985 at least).

  15. #75
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    There is a good article on page 28 of
    Sky & Telescope, Aug 2000 with an editorial in
    Sep and letters in Oct. Nothing more
    beguiling than old S&Ts with half read
    stories and excellent graphics! Anyway why
    name a faint star in Draco as Procyon? Thats
    the certificate they purchased. Last thing,
    the old saying about no such thing as bad
    pulicity applies here!

  16. #76
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    I just called the ISR at the phone number on their web site. I asked them if I buy a star, will I be able to see it? They told me I'd need a pretty good telescope. They're currently using stars in the 12-15 magnitude range.

    That rules out most back yard telescopes.

  17. #77
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    Quote Originally Posted by aurora
    They have been selling stars (various companies) for more than 20 years (I found documents that they were doing it before 1985 at least).
    My wife got mine in 1982 and I reciprocated on her b-day (for charm value only, of course).

    I suppose, their success underscores our desire to connect in some permanent way to the universe, along with our love for ownership for just about everything. Yet I suspect it is some of these same feelings which drive us to want to do more. That is why I like the idea of a IAU sanctioned entity using star naming money to support special projects (e.g. save the Hubble) which might not otherwise receive support. This gives you and I a chance to contribute to a project of our own choice, and still receive the charm inherent in having our own star, though we'll know science will still utilize their superior naming system.
    We know time flies, we just can't see its wings.

  18. #78
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    Quote Originally Posted by tony873004
    I just called the ISR at the phone number on their web site. I asked them if I buy a star, will I be able to see it? They told me I'd need a pretty good telescope. They're currently using stars in the 12-15 magnitude range.

    That rules out most back yard telescopes.
    So how much revenue might they have generated?

    Let's say they started with 9th magnitude stars, eliminating the first 120,000 brighter stars. If they have completed stars through 12th magnitude, this means 2.34 million stars have been sold. If the average price is, say, $75, then sales for ISR alone would be $175 million. If stars through 13th mag. were all sold, the gross revenue is $462 million. If the other companies combined match this, about $1 billion has been collected for star naming. If half is in overhead, that would still generate 1/2 billion bucks that would go to projects that the little people, including me, would feel we were a part of; probably, even more than the more important government funded projects. [quickly added:] What are the chances for Hubble if the IAU sends NASA a check for $500,000,000 dedicated for its service?
    We know time flies, we just can't see its wings.

  19. #79
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    I'd be very surprised if their sales are in the millions. Out of all the people I know, I've only known one to have a "bought" star. That would make the count in the hundreds of thousands, rather than millions, which would make more sense to me.
    Everything I need to know I learned through Googling.

  20. #80
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    Quote Originally Posted by ToSeek
    ... Out of all the people I know, I've only known one to have a "bought" star ...
    I think you just left yourself open
    1. You don't know too many people to begin with.
    2. You only associate with more intelligent people.
    3. Most of the people you know don't have enough money.

  21. #81
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    A link I posted earlier said over 1 million sales, but the ISR's website claims hundreds of thousands.

    I also only know of 1 person.

  22. #82
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    Quote Originally Posted by ToSeek
    I'd be very surprised if their sales are in the millions. Out of all the people I know, I've only known one to have a "bought" star. That would make the count in the hundreds of thousands, rather than millions, which would make more sense to me.
    Are you counting me?

    I really hope and believe you are correct, it is unlikely that they have generated the projected revenue I gave....YET. [A little mathematical hyperbole doesn't go very far around here. ] I noticed at their site that one may choose a given constellation. This might explain why they are > 12th mag. since the more popular constellation's brighter (less invisible) stars may have been taken already.

    Nevertheless, I still will plug for an IAU sanctioned enterprise dedicated to raise funds for worthy astronomy and space user defined projects, as well as, eliminate the majority of these shams. This plan will have its sticky points, but nothing to cause too much of a problem.

    Alternatively, why not let BAUT do it! After all, this is BAD ASTRONOMY that is dedicated to making Bad astronomy into Good astronomy. Why not Bad star-naming into honest star-naming? BAUT would make it clear as to the minimal degree of official status of the purhcased star name, yet still they will come by the thousands, IMO, if for no other reason but to get a fancy BAUT certificate (with space art), some cool technical coordinates and data (spectral irradiance optional ), and the knowledge that a fixed percantage of the price will go to one of several needed astronomy projects which the buyer chooses. I am actually serious about this, no cornjunktive.

    Allow me to ask, if this were offered, would you shell out $50 to $100 if this plan were offered?

    For another $10, your name goes on a particular red boxing glove with the mission you've supported.
    Last edited by George; 2006-Feb-10 at 01:14 PM.
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  23. #83
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    Or maybe just a slightly sardonic approach, such as....

    "Pick a star from here [url link], then enter the coordinates of the star of your choice, if the star is shown to be officially available, then insert your name (birth certificate not required), to officially register. This establishes an official name for the star and all names will be officially stored on our official hard drive (until it crashes). Download the official certificate, which will show the official coordinates, then insert your official name below the official artwork and place it at an official location of your choice."

    At least it sounds official, IMO.
    We know time flies, we just can't see its wings.

  24. #84
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    I've read of a planetarium that offers a similar program to what George proposed. For a set fee you can "name a star" and probably get some sort of certificate. I'd imagine it is one visible in the planetarium sky. It's a method of fundraising for the planetarium, supporting astronomy education. I know many people in the planetarium field are vehemontly against the ISR. But I haven't heard any complaints about what this planetarium is doing. The differences are that the planetarium is not doing it for profit, and they make sure there are no misconceptions about the name being officially recognized by any group.

  25. #85
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    That is interesting. I tried to find the planetarium, but failed.

    However, I did learn a few things along the google way.

    Here is, at least, a star naming place that does qualify what you are buying.

    This one talks of some juicy issues in star naming, back in 2000.
    Rocky Mosele, vice president of ISR, defends the practice of selling star names. "We provide a very unique gift that will be remembered for years and years," he said, adding that ISR is as official as any of the 26 different registries that astronomers use.

    But Jim Craig, planetarium director at the Schiele Museum of Natural History in Gastonia, N.C., said the registry exists only as long as the company stays in business. "It is as historical as publishing a list of groceries," he said.


    With ISR claiming to have sold more than a million stars over the last 21 years, star-naming is a lucrative business.
    Maybe BAUT shouldn't consider getting into this...

    ISR filed suit in federal court against Oregon-based Name a Star, a family-owned company that has been issuing star certificates since 1978, for using the trademarked term "star registry." Other lawsuits are pending.
    I can't imagine, however, ISR would have much of a chance. I don't know the outcome, however.

    The best deal, if one must have one, is probably buying Planetarium Deluxe . You likely get cool software, plus you can register your named star.

    [Edit: I went to the Planetarium software site. Looks like they have removed the star name offer.]
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  26. #86
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    Quote Originally Posted by George
    That is interesting. I tried to find the planetarium, but failed.
    I can't remember which one it was. I'm pretty sure it was in the US. If I ever come across it again, I'll post here.

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    It wouldn't surprise me if the planetarium you suggest would not have dropped this if they were soured with a potential law suit, frivolous or otherwise (as may have been the case with the software folks).
    We know time flies, we just can't see its wings.

  28. #88
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    Quote Originally Posted by tony873004
    The sky contains 41253 square degrees. So there are 93,378 fields of view in the total sky. If we use 10 as an average number of stars per field of view, That's nearly 1 million stars.
    Holy calculating digitalman! Looking at the star magnitude lists provided by George, and considering you can probably see up to about 10.5 or 11 on an excellent viewing night with your telescope (well ok REALLY excellent!), I have to say that this was a remarkably accurate estimate!

  29. #89
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    Yes, that is cool.

    What if you combine all the star naming companies? We might assume 2 million total have been "bought and paid for". If the average price is, say, $50/star, then $100 million in revenue has been generated. As the link stated, the selling feature is its gift quality. But, what if star naming were IAU sanctioned, plus the huge response I would assume would be created if the buyer had a choice of worthy projects to contribute to, and be a part of, saving the Hubble (or other cause). My guess sales would easily exceed 10 fold, even with the expressed statement that science would have a different naming system, and certain stars could be renamed (in case an astronomer discovers something unique).
    Last edited by George; 2006-Feb-11 at 06:16 PM.
    We know time flies, we just can't see its wings.

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    From a dark site and with excellent conditions, an experienced observer can easily see 14th magnitude stars with an aperture of only 6 inches.

    http://www.twcac.org/Tutorials/limit...tude_table.htm

    Pluto has been successfully observed by the professsional astronomer Brian Skiff with a 70mm Tele Vue Pronto.

    http://www.pietro.org/Astro_C5/Artic...oVisualLog.htm

    http://www.pietro.org/Astro_C5/Artic...utoCurrent.htm

    Dave Mitsky

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