Traveling 520 years to the direction of the Big Dipper at the speed of light, a large orange-colored star that is 1,000 times bigger and 56 times brighter than Sun can be found. There is a large planet composed of a variety of gasses revolving around the star. The extra-solar planet was discovered by a South Korean researcher.
The planet and the primary star will be named in Korean. The extra-solar planet, in particular, will be the first of its kind to have a Korean name. The Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute (KASI) announced on Tuesday that Paektu and Halla were selected for the respective name of the primary star 8 UMi and the planet 8 UMi b by the International Astronomical Union’s global naming contest for extra-solar planets to celebrate its 100th anniversary.
Among more than 4,000 extra-solar planets that have been found so far, Halla was discovered in 2015 by principal researcher Lee Byung-chul of the variable stars group at the KASI with a 1.8-meter telescope at the Bohyunsan Optical Astronomy Observatory of the institute. Halla is a gas planet weighing 477 times more than the Earth and even 1.5 times heavier than Jupiter, the largest planet in the solar system. The primary star Paektu is also a giant star with 1.8 times more weight, 10 times the radius, and 1,000 times volume compared to Sun. It is near the Little Bear with the Polaris and can be seen faintly with the naked eye on the Earth.
The names were selected after two months of an open contest from August 20. “The names Paektu for the star and Halla for the extra-solar planet were inspired by Paektu Mountain in North Korea and Halla Mountain in South Korea,” explained Lieutenant Chae Jung-suk of Seoul Hyehwa Police Station who proposed the names. “It reflects a wish to achieve peaceful reunification and prosperity of the Korean people."