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So! You've left Earth and settled a new world? Good for you! Now comes the part where you name it. You might want to follow the traditions laid down by the settlers before you:

  • New Something: Take a place on Earth, any place at all. Now add "New" to the beginning. Great! you've named your world! Welcome to New Detroit! Or New Paris! (Or Nova Lutetia!) New North Wales! New Newcastle! New New York! Or New New New York! Why bother to be creative when it's so much easier just to steal somewhere else's name.
  • Symbolica: Don't like naming it after places on Earth? No problem. Give it a symbolic name! Name it Eden, or Serenity, or Peace, or something nice sounding. Or you could name it something strong so as to show the universe you're tough. Call it Spartacus or Thor. Just don't name it Hell, 'cause nobody will want to settle there. Except maybe Norwegians. And Michiganders.
    • If you do choose a symbolic name, be prepared for it to quickly become either heavily ironic, or eerily appropriate.
  • Mnemosyne: Can't think of anything original? Pick something random from mythology! Greek mythology is especially popular, but don't overlook the benefits of Egyptian, Norse, or even obscure Babylonian myths as a gold mine for planet names!
  • XK-37: Don't like names? Random letters and numbers work well, too.
  • Numbered Homeworld: This combines the familiarity of a name, with the laziness of a number. Does the star your planet's in orbit around have a name? If so all you have to do is count how many planets are in your system. On the second planet from the star Polaris? Your planet is now named Polaris 2. Or Polaris II if you prefer Roman numerals.
  • Starname: Even better, someone already came up with a name for the star long ago. Let's just call the planet the same thing, and forget the number. No, that wouldn't be confusing, why do you ask?
  • Egopolis: Just name the planet after yourself! Thousands of years from now your descendants will still be singing your praises every day on Planet Bob.
  • Named the Same: You are feeling really lazy? Just copy a name from home. Don't bother to change it, they're far enough away from each other not to get confused.
  • Erehwon: The old standby, inspired by Samuel Butler's 1872 novel of the same name. The perfect descriptor for that little mudball out in the back of beyond via (nearly) Sdrawkcab Name.
  • Planet Shout-Out: Today's pop culture is the mythology of the future, so why not name your planets after planets in famous science fiction books, movies, and television shows?
  • Propagandica: Name your planet after something that will give good PR like Richworld. Alternatively make a name to please the Obstructive Bureaucrat in charge of your salary like Admiralsworld.

See Numbered Homeworld and Egopolis for examples of planets named that way.

Examples of "New" Planets


Comic Books


Film

  • At the end of Titan A.E., they name the new planet New Earth. Actually, they just name it "Earth", but people adopt the "new" label for it anyway. (Of course, Cale wanted to call it Planet Bob.)
    • The movie itself presents the planet at the end as "New Earth - (Planet Bob)"
    • There is also New Bangkok, which is a drifter colony (space station) whose population is mostly Thai.
  • Characters in Pitch Black refer to a planet called New Mecca.


Literature

  • There are plenty of "new" planets in the Honor Harrington series, such as New Berlin and the city of Nouveau Paris on the symbolically named planet of Haven. New Dijon and New Geneva are also examples.
  • The Mote in God's Eye had New Chicago, New Scotland and New Ireland.
    • Which is at least not so confusing, since the original Chicago, Scotland, and Ireland, were pretty much wiped out in a nuclear war centuries earlier.
  • Douglas Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series - New Betel.
  • Isaac Asimov's Foundation series - New Earth (AKA Alpha).
  • Gordon R. Dickson's Childe Cycle - New Earth (around Sirius)
  • Alan Dean Foster's Commonwealth series - New Paris, New Riviera.
  • Robert Heinlein - New Beginnings (Time Enough for Love), New Canaan (Tunnel In The Sky).
  • Ursula K. Le Guin's Hainish Cycle - New South Georgia, New Tahiti (AKA Athshe, World 41).
  • Jerry Pournelle's CoDominium stories - New Washington.
  • Dan Simmons' Hyperion Cantos - New Earth, New Mekka
    • The New Tiber river on Pacem
  • The Star Wars Expanded Universe has New (Alderaan, Apsolon, Bornalex, Cov, Plympto).
  • Peter F. Hamilton's The Night's Dawn trilogy - New California
    • Hamilton puts more thought into this than most. In his world, colonization of most planets is limited to a particular ethnicity (in order to prevent rioting and culture clashes), and so the naming tends to be based on the ethnicity of the colonists. He also flits between more than one standard. Thus, the planet of Nashville is American-ethnic, Norfolk is English-ethnic, and Kulu is...unclear.
  • The novella "With The Bentfin Boomer Boys On Little Old New Alabama" by Richard A. Lupoff, featured the (white) space warriors of New Alabama against the (black) settlers of New Haiti.


Live Action TV

  • Doctor Who had good old New New New New New New New New New New New New New New New York, on New Earth. Also New Alexandria, New Savannah, and New Venus.
  • The remake of Battlestar Galactica had New Caprica.
    • And the city on New Caprica was called New Caprica City, after Caprica City, the capital of the old Caprica. The colonials were not especially gifted when it came to naming things.
  • Fireball XL5 - New Earth
  • New Melbourne in Firefly.
  • Star Trek - New (Bajor, Berlin, Brooklyn IX, Earth, France, Gaul, Halana, Seattle, Sydney)
  • Jon Stewart's proposal that "I think we might need a new planet." Possible names included Pluto II and Stewartitania.
  • Stargate Universe gave us Novus (literally, Ancient for "new"), settled by an alternate timeline version of the Destiny crew.


Video Games

  • Ah, this is the way it is done in the computer game Civilization. Each civilization has a list of city names, but this list is always far shorter than the maximum number of cities you can possibly have on larger maps, so if you expand a lot, and reach the end of the list, the list would restart except it would put the word "New" in front of it. With 2 exceptions/Easter eggs: Instead of New Tokyo, the name Neo Tokyo is used, and in instead of New Istanbul, the name Not Constantinople is used. And just in case the "New" list is filled again, the list starts over appending a "-2" ("New York-2") to the city's name, then it starts over with "-3" ("Tokyo-3"), and so on.
  • Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri, the Spiritual Successor to Civilization II, doesn't do "New X" when you use up your base name list, but the Headquarters for The Lord's Believers is New Jerusalem.
  • New Terra in Outpost 2.
  • Capital planets in Freelancer. All other planets don't have new prefixes. (See below).
  • The Bring Down the Sky expansion for Mass Effect features the planet Terra Nova (Latin: "New Land").
  • Escape Velocity had a dozen planets named "New" something.
  • Location "New Gettisburg" in Starcraft.


Web Original

  • Tech Infantry has several cases of this, including New Tokyo, New Paris, New Chicago, and New Madrid.
  • Void Dogs has Nova Hibernia, Nova Caledonia, and Nova Terra (which strangely enough is in the Sol system).
  • The Pentagon War has asteroids named New France and New Mars.


Examples of Symbolically Named Planets

Comic Books


Literature

  • The Honor Harrington series has Hades (nicknamed Hell). It's very aptly named. There is also Haven, which was originally a symbolic name but became far more ironic over time. Hope and Refuge also fit under this trope, as does the planet Torch, specifically named for its symbolic connotations.
    • There's also the planet Masada, home to religious zealots, which clearly derived its name from the Real Life Zealots' last stand in the Roman War Against the Jews in 70 A.D..
  • Older Than Steam: The original Utopia was named because it literally means "Nowhere."
  • Isaac Asimov's Foundation series - Terminus, Haven
    • Roger McBride Allen's "Caliban" trilogy, set in the same universe, ignores the stricture above about calling your planet 'Hell'. It's set on Inferno.
  • C. J. Cherryh's Forty Thousand in Gehenna - Gehenna
  • Gordon R. Dickson's Childe Cycle - Harmony and Association. Settled by several fundamentalist sects, the names were an attempt to try to ease tensions. It doesn't work. Another example, Newton. An appropriately named world for a technocratic planet.
  • Alan Dean Foster's Commonwealth series - Dawn
  • Peter F. Hamilton's The Night's Dawn trilogy - Felicity,
  • Robert Heinlein's stories - Blessed, Faraway, Halcyon, Inferno, Sanctuary, Whistle Stop
  • Andrey Livadny's History of the Galaxy series - Paradise
  • Larry Niven's Known Space stories had Canyon, Down, Hearth, Home, Jinx, Plateau, Sheathclaws, Silvereyes, We Made It and Wunderland.
    • People from We Made It are referred to as "Crashlanders". See if you can guess why!
    • Canyon used to be named Warhead, until the military base there got taken out by The Wunderland Peacemaker, and is now named after its new geographic feature
  • NowWhat from Mostly Harmless.
  • Jerry Pournelle's CoDominium series has the likes of Covenant, Haven, etc.
  • Alastair Reynolds's Revelation Space stories have lots of these : Haven, Diadem, Turquoise, Spindrift, Sky's Edge, Resurgam ("resurgent/re-emergeant"), Ararat (both symbolic and mythological/biblical).
  • Dan Simmons' Hyperion Cantos : Garden, God's Grove, Heaven's Gate, Madre De Dios
    • Sibiatu's Bitterness, Nevermore (which is apparently in perpetual twilight)
  • Arkady and Boris Strugatsky's Noon Universe series had Ark, Hope, Pandora and Rainbow.
  • Jack Vance's The Demon Princes Rigel system - Nowhere, Somewhere
  • Star Wars Expanded Universe - Bastion, Despayre (prison planet), Foundry, Necropolis
  • In Tanya Huff's Confederation novels, the main character grew up on a colony called Paradise.
  • The protagonist of Eric Nylund's A Game of Universe grew up on the mining colony Hades. It's well named.
  • The Halo universe features a number of symbolic planet names, the most prominent being Reach (the first extrasolar human colony) and Harvest (an extremely fertile agricultural colony). Also pretty much any Covenant colony such as Weeping Shadows of Sorrow, the prison planet. Listed here because these planets are featured more prominently in the Halo novels than Halo games.
  • Not the name of one planet, but of towns in recolonized Earth, in the Xenogenesis series, it's remarked that quite a large number of new settlements are named "Phoenix" because everyone thought it would be symbolic and original.
  • The short story "Assumption" (scroll down) by Desmond Warzel makes brief reference to a planet named Gehenna.
  • The planet Hellspark, in Janet Kagan's book by the same name, is purposely spelled as one word, specifically to cause ambiguity on how it's to be pronounced: Either "Hell spark" or "Hell's park". It was originally settled by linguists, according to the planet's popular history.
  • In Uplift, two of humans' first extrasolar colonies were named NuDawn and Atlast. (After making contact with Galactic Civilization and acquiring later planets legally, humans tend to use the names aliens had already given them.)


Live Action TV

  • Andromeda - Acheron, Halcyon, Serendipity
  • Blakes Seven - Destiny, Goth, Horizon
  • Doctor Who universe - Anathema, Arcadia, Eden, Heaven, Hell, Oblivion
  • Fireball XL5 - Amazonia
  • Firefly - Haven, Shadow, Hope, Angel and - of course - Serenity
  • Star Trek - Babel, Eden, Gaia, Genesis, Gideon, Haven, Hell, Parliament, Tantalus, Ultima Thule
  • The colony ship in Power Rangers Lost Galaxy was named Terra Venture.


Tabletop Games

  • Warhammer 40000: No one has any idea in what universe it was a good idea to name a planet Armaggedon. No, matter the Imperium has been fighting so many wars against Orks on this planet that Armaggedon has come to mean paradise in the Ork language. It doesn't help that the current war was caused by the schemings of Eldrad Ulthran - a space elf with the ability to see the future.


Video Games

  • One of the factions in Outpost 2 named their colony Eden.
  • The intro mission in Mass Effect takes place on a colony planet named Eden Prime.
    • Come to that, Eden Prime is in the Utopia system, and all the planets of that system have some sort of symbolism to them (i.e., Arcadia, Eden Prime, Zion, Nirvana, and Xanadu).
  • The RPGmaker game A Blurred Line gives us Paradise.
  • Xenosaga's Michtam was formerly named Abraxas, which is a representation of the driving force of individuation, which is of thematic importance to the plot.
  • Most base names in Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri have some connection to the faction's ideology:
    • Gaian bases mostly have suitably environmental names, like "Velvetgrass Point" and "Song of Planet."
    • Spartan bases generally have names that would do the NRA and Robert A. Heinlein proud: Fort Liberty, Commander's Keep, and Blast Rifle Crag being among the more memorable.
    • The Believers tend to have names with a definite Biblical ring to them: besides New Jerusalem (the Headquarters), there's Far Zion, Sanctity Base, He Walked On Water, Loaves and Fishes...
    • The University, by contrast, has names that often sound like research installations (often dual Russian and English) or university departments: Bibliotyek Letters, Bibliotyek Science, Gagarin Memorial, Zarya Sunrise (after the Russian module of the ISS!), Oceanographic Lab...
    • The Morganites name their bases like corporate subsidiaries: Morgan Industries, Morgan Robotics, Morgan Cybernetics (I think), Morgan Transport, Morgan Bank, Morgan Collections, Morgan Hydrochemical...
    • The Peacekeepers, who regard themselves as the continuation of the United Nations mandate to settle Planet, also have a theme in that everything is "UN [Something Human Rightsy/Bureaucratic]," like UN Equality Village.
    • Hive bases all have names that seem to be pulled out of a strange mishmash of Mao's China (not just Red China, but Mao's specifically), Taoist philosophy, Friedrich Nietzsche, and 1984. Great Collective, Huddling of the People, Fecundity Tower (yeah...), Sea Collective, and, of course, The Hive.
  • Inverted in Homeworld. The artefact that proves that the planet's population are descended from Ancient Astronauts has a star-map etched on it, with their language's word for "home" (Hiigara) above a particular set of coordinates. Whether this is what their ancestors actually called it when they lived there is never stated outright, but the name "Hiigara" sticks.


Web Original

  • Tech Infantry has Avalon, a paradise of a planet thanks to liberal application of Life Magic, and the new capital of the Earth Federation after Earth itself is destroyed.


Examples of Mythology Named Planets

Literature

  • The Honor Harrington series is full of Mnemosyne names like Manticore, Sphinx, Medusa, Hades (nicknamed Hell, see symbolic names), and Gryphon.
  • Joan D. Vinge's The Snow Queen - Tiamat
  • Gordon R. Dickson's Childe Cycle - Mara, named after the Buddhist equivalent of Satan. In-universe, the name was a holdover from when the Exotics were the Chantry Guild, specifically occultists. Possibly Zombri, which is close enough to "Zombie".
  • Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time - Camazotz, Uriel
  • Poul Anderson's Fire Time - Ishtar
  • Another Hyperion example is the planet Hyperion itself. Also one of its cities, Endymion. Plus, during the last book, several Ouster colonies are given symbolic names by the Pax for the seven deadly sins: Belphegor (sloth), Leviathon (envy), Beelzebub (gluttony), Satan (anger), Asmodeus (lechery), Mammon (avarice) and Lucifer (pride.
  • Alastair Reynolds' Revelation Space series includes examples such as Fand (Celtic mythology), Ararat, Golgota, Zion (Biblical), Roc (giant bird from Persian mythology), Hades, Cerberus (Greek mythology), Hela, Haldora (Norse mythology).
  • H. Beam Piper's Terro-Human Future History went this route, reserving Greek and Roman names for the Solar System. Then they gave up on it because they were running out of names.
  • Isaac Asimov's Foundation series - most of the original Spacer worlds. Aurora (originally New Earth) and Melpomenia are two we get to visit.


Live Action TV

  • Andromeda - Tartarus, Hephaestus
  • Doctor Who universe - Olympus
  • Firefly: Osiris, Persephone, Hera[1]
  • Star Trek: Romulus (and its brother planet Remus), Qo'noS (transliterated to Kronos in English) & Vulcan.


Video Games

  • Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri: The planet is officially named Chiron, after a centaur in Greek mythology (namely, one of only two good ones). In practice, everyone simply calls it Planet.
    • Various other celestial bodies in the Alpha Centauri system are also given names related to Greek centaurs and their complex relationship with Hercules.
      • The two moons of Chiron/Planet are named Pholus and Nessus. Pholus was the other good centaur, and had been one of Hercules' teachers. Nessus was a typical dumb, violent brute of a centaur who tried to rape Hercules' wife Deianira; Hercules kills him, but he tricks Deianira into putting his blood on to Hercules' shirt, and the blood kills him.
      • The only other planet in the Alpha Centauri A system, a little-mentioned Mercury-like rock, is named Eurytion, a centaur who forced King Dexamenus to give one of his daughters (Mnesimache or Deianira, depending on the myth) to him in marriage, and was killed by Hercules for his trouble.
      • For reasons that should be obvious from the above, Alpha Centauri B gets the name Hercules. Also, did we mention that Hercules accidentally killed the mythological Chiron? And that Alpha Centauri B's perihelions (in the game) are responsible for significant climate changes that result in Mind Worms attacking your bases even more ferociously than usual?
    • Finally, the "Map of Planet" (the canonical "standard" map) features landmarks named mostly after Greek mythological figures: the Isle of Dexamenus, the Isle of Deianira, the Sea of Mnesimache, the Pholus Ridge, Eurytion Bay, the Straits of Endymion....
  • Xenosaga has the planet Ariadne, named after the mythical princess of Crete. There is also Michtam, presumably named for the psalms. Finally, there is the asteroid Pleroma.


Web Original

  • Tech Infantry has Hrothgar, after a character in Beowulf; Avalon, after a location in Arthurian Myth, and Enoch and Babylon, named for places in The Bible.
  • Artemis Neo has the planet Artemis, named after the Greek Goddess.


Real Life

  • The names of most of the bodies in our solar system, such as Venus, Jupiter, Mars, Pluto, Io, Europa, Titan, Ceres, Eris...
  • A certain asteroid that has a relatively high chance of hitting Earth sometime in the near future (meaning not that high of a chance, just higher than usual for an asteroid) is named Apophis. Subverted: although apt mythologically (seeing as Apophis in Egyptian myth was the evil snake who kept trying to eat The Sun every night), the astronomer who discovered it was definitely thinking of the evil Goa'uld Apophis from Stargate SG-1.
  • The extrasolar gas giant HD 209458 b has been unofficially named Osiris.


Examples of Numbers And Letters Planets

Comic Books


Film

  • LV426 in Alien and Aliens.
    • Which is of course renamed Acheron in Aliens, a reference to the mythological river of the underworld.


Literature

  • Dan Simmons' Hyperion Cantos - NGCes 2629-4BIV
  • Star Wars Expanded Universe - M2398, M4-78
  • No numbers, but Anne McCaffrey's Pern started out as an acronym for "Parallel Earth, Resources Negligible". The later colonists just get lazy and call it by the acronym. The ensuing end of the world prompts everyone to forget the origins of the name.
  • The Vorkosiganverse has Beta Colony, and Orient IV.
  • HR8832/B and UMa47/E from Blind Lake.
  • In Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's Le Petit Prince ("The Little Prince"), the title character lives on asteroid B612.


Live Action TV

  • Doctor Who - S14, UX-4732
  • Earth 2 - G889
  • Star Trek - AR-558, L374, M-113, MS1, MZV
  • Stargate SG-1 - P number letter-(118, 234, 382, 513, 729, 774, 797, 866, 888, 974, 989, 1279, 7763, 8596, etc.)
    • Pegasus Galaxy planets start with M instead of P.
    • Although in both cases planets with an actual civilization on them will often have a more normal name as well (Chu'lak, Tollana, Abydos, Asuras, etc).
  • Andros of Power Rangers in Space hails from KO-35.


Video Games

  • In the Metroid series Samus grew up on K-2L and SR388 is the Metroid home planet.
  • Alien vs. Predator 2 - LV-1201
  • In Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri, when your Faction runs out of base names, you start on a list going Alpha Sector, Beta Sector, Gamma Sector, etc., through the Greek alphabet.
  • Systems in 0.0 space in EVE Online have numeric names like B-VIP9. Some of the constellations and regions also have numeric names.
  • In Ascendancy, the player can name their colonies whatever they want, but the defaults are (Starname)(Roman numeral) (such as Hope II, Nougat IV, etc.)
  • The Escape Velocity series features a number of these, usually assigned to uninhabited and/or inhospitable worlds. EV Nova often uses the format "UHP-####", where UHP stands for Uninhabited Planet.
    • If a planet is settled later on, the name changes. UHP-1002 was renamed "Nirvana" after being terraformed and settled. Oddly though, this isn't a case of Symbolic naming, not directly at least: Nirvana was the name of the company that terraformed it.


Web Original

  • Tech Infantry has this scheme for newly-discovered planets, but once they get colonized and settled, places named things like "H4" get renamed things like "New Madrid".
  • In The Pentagon War, the main planet of the Sirius system is named "America" by its inhabitants. Outsiders still refer to it as Sirius A IV, though.


Real Life

  • Every star has anywhere from one to a dozen different referents depending on the number of catalogs it is recorded in, with each catalog having its own nomenclature. It can be the number of the star in the order it was discovered/examined, or a positional code. Most of the moons of the gas giants in our own system also fit this trope. Jupiter alone has 63 moons, the smaller ones only have a Roman numeral. A great many asteroids are also only known by a catalog number.
  • Since we started discovering them in 1995, extrasolar planets are typically given the name of the star they orbit followed by a lower-case letter, starting with "b" and going in the order that the planets were discovered. The star Gliese 581, for example, has planets named Gliese 581b, Gliese 581c, and Gliese 581d.


Examples of Planets Named After the Star

Film

  • According to Expanded Universe materials, this is common in the Star Wars universe. Of the planets featured in the movies, Alderaan, Bespin, Coruscant, Hoth, Kamino, Kashyyyk, Naboo, Utapau, and Yavin share names with their star. (Others, like Tatooine, are close.)


Literature

  • In the Honor Harrington novels, the mythology inspired planet Manticore is located in the star system of Manticore. Same for Beowulf.
  • In Anne McCaffrey's Talent series, the planet Deneb circles the star Deneb.
  • Isaac Asimov's Foundation series - Gaia, Sayshell.

Web Original

  • Tech Infantry has several cases of this, including Alpha Centauri, Wilke's Star, Jennifer's Star, and most of the rest of the planets, really, since if the planet isn't named for the star, the star is probably named for the principal inhabited planet.


Real Life

  • This is the official astronomical policy for naming extrasolar planets: the name of the star, followed by a lowercase Latin letter in order of discovery. Since most stars have number-soup names like HR 8799, the results also fall under the previous category. Those few that don't include 51 Pegasi b and Tau Boötis b.


Examples of Planets Named for Actual Places

Film


Literature

  • Again, the Honor Harrington series has an example with the planet Montana. Which is also a Planet of Hats who act like stereotypical Montanans.
  • Returning to ~The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy~, the planet Damogran had islands named Easter Island and France. They were lampshaded by Douglas Adams by mentioning that in Galacticspeke, "easter" means flat, small, and light-brown, which Easter Island was; the name France, while not explained what it meant, was also an entirely meaningless coincidence, since one of the side effects of working on the Improbability-powered starship Heart Of Gold, which they were building on France, is a whole string of entirely meaningless coincidences.
  • In the short story "The Black Sheep of Vaerlosi" by Desmond Warzel, the name of the titular planet is, according to Word of God, a corruption of Værløse (a small Danish town), used for no particular reason except that the author liked the sound.
  • Dan Simmons' Hyperion Cantos pretty much covers each convention, since the series is essentially about humanity becominh stagnant despite going to the stars. T'ien Shan the planet has multiple Buddhist temples, statues, and Chinese and Tibetan names replicating them all from Earth; New Jerusalem, New Mecca; the planet Pacem took as much of the literal Vatican city as possible from Earth, adding some conventions like the New Tiber river; the planet Fuji with their samurai businessmen...


Live Action TV

  • Andromeda has the planet Galena, which started out as a mining colony, switched to agriculture when the mines petered out, then to tourism when agriculture turned out to be not particularly profitable. This is also a capsule history of the town of Galena, Illinois.


Video Games

  • In Freelancer they drop the 'new' for most systems; they have names like Pittsburgh, Houston, Leeds, etc. Most of the capitals are the exceptions; they're named New Tokyo, New London, New Berlin, and Manhattan.
    • Though Manhattan is in the New York system.
  • One of the factions in Outpost 2 named their colony Plymouth.
  • Arcadia colony appears in Halo Wars. Arcadia would also appear in a list of Provinces in Greece.
    • A planet called Dwarka (after the city in India) appears in The Cole Protocol.
  • A large number of planets and systems in Mass Effect are named after locations on Earth. Each cluster usually follows a pattern. The Artemis Tau cluster, for instance, has the Athens, Sparta, Knossos, and Macedon systems. The Maroon Sea has Caspian, Matano, and Vostok (lakes). The Voyager Cluster has Columbia, Yangtze, and Amazon (rivers).
  • A few of these show up in Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri; the only one you're terribly likely to see, however, is the University base Baikonur, named after the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. I suppose that's just what you get when you literally put a rocket scientist in charge of a faction.


Web Original

  • Tech Infantry has New Madrid, which in-universe is an example of "New Planet" naming as above. But the real reason it was named that was that the Midwestern people who wrote Tech Infantry named it for New Madrid, Missouri, and the earthquake-prone fault line that runs through it.


Examples of Planets Named for People

Literature

  • Guess what? Honor Harrington strikes again, with the planet Grayson, named after a religious leader who founded it.
  • The planet Madrigal from Halo: The Cole Protocol may be named after a person. Madrigal being a Spanish surname and the inhabitants of the planet being culturally Spanish.
    • Also from Halo, planet Biko, which is mentioned offhand in Ghosts of Onyx.
    • And Gilgamesh (mentioned in Fall of Reach), though that might also count as a Mythology reference.
  • The Vorkosigan Saga has Barrayar, named after the ruling Vorbarra family, and Sergyar, named after Prince Serg.
  • The Animorphs series had an twist on this trope. Every planet not in Earth's solar system was named for the indigenous sentient species; for instance, the planet the Andalites evolved on was called the Andalite homeworld, the Taxxons' planet was the Taxxon homeworld etc.
  • The first Settler planet in the later Isaac Asimov Robot novels was named Baleyworld, after its founding colonist Bentley Baley, the son of Elijah Baley, the protagonist of the earlier Robot novels. (By the time of the Foundation novels, it had been renamed Comporellon.)
  • The Da Vinci Spaceport, in Dan Simmon's Hyperion Cantos, and the capital of Hyperion, Keats.
  • In Mostly Harmless, the recently discovered tenth planet "was named Persephone, but rapidly nicknamed Rupert after some astronomer's parrot."


Live Action TV

  • Sherman's Planet, in the classic Star Trek episode "The Trouble with Tribbles". It is named for Holly Sherman, an old girlfriend of the episode's writer, David Gerrold.


Video Games

  • Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri has a few examples:
    • Virtually all of Morgan Industries' bases are all named "Morgan _______". Of course, Morgan Industries is Mega Corp, and with names like "Morgan Robotics", "Morgan Solarfex", "Morgan Collections", etc., it's fairly obvious that he's not quite that egotistical: presumably, these are all divisions of the corporation.
    • A couple of the other factions get these, most notably the Human Hive's "Yang Mine" and Gaia's Stepdaughters' "Deidre's Fishery".
    • If the first batch of Mind Worms you breed is ever killed in battle, you get the option of renaming the base where the worms were bred in memory of the young, promising Talent you put up to the task of controlling them. It's rather touching, and you get a bit of (non-fourth-wall-breaking) text to explain why you would do this.
  • Quite a few throughout Mass Effect:
    • Planets in the Skepsis system are named after biologists: Wallace, Darwin, Watson, Crick, Pauling, and Keimowitz.
    • Planets in the Boltzmann system are named after theoretical physicists (most of whom are still alive): Bekenstein, Feynman, Thooft, Veltman, and Wheeler.
    • The Hawking Eta cluster features the Schwarzschild, Chandrasekhar, and Thorne systems. (More physicists.)
    • The Kepler Verge cluster has the Newton and Herschel systems.
    • The Armstrong Nebula cluster features the Gagarin and Tereshkova (the first women in space) systems. Humanity's first and largest deep space station is also named Gagarin Station.

Web Original

  • Tech Infantry has Jennifer's Star, named for the girlfriend (and later wife) of the guy who originally created the game.


Real Life

  • The unofficial name for Gliese 581 g, the first planet discovered outside of the solar system with a fair chance of supporting (Terragen) life, is Zarmina's World (or Zarmina for short). It's named after the wife of the chief scientist on the team that discovered it.
  • For a time, Uranus was called "Herschel" after its discoverer, Sir William Herschel.


Examples of Planets Named The Same

Live Action TV

  • Firefly has Londinium (the Roman name for London), Aberdeen and Deadwood.


Video Games

  • Star Control 2 has the Supox, who live on planet... Earth. This causes some confusion between them and the Captain until they explain that their planet is called "earth" as in "soil".[2]

Examples of Planets Named Erewhon

Literature

  • Yet another Honor Harrington example, the Universe does indeed contain a planet Erewhon.
  • Anne McCaffrey's novel Nimisha's Ship has a planet named Erewhon with is perfectly descriptive of it.
  • Jack Vance's The Demon Princes has Nowhere, which is the same idea without being spelled backwards.
    • This is part of the Rigel Concourse, a system of twenty-six planets originally given pompous names by their discoverer but then filed under much sillier names by an obscure clerk. Also in the same system is the planet "Somewhere". (Neither plays a meaningful part in the cycle.)


Examples of Planets named for Pop-culture references

Comics


Literature

  • Larry Niven's Known Space has Planet Godzilla (in the same system as Home). Nobody seems to know what the hell the namer was thinking, or what he was referencing.
  • Jerry Pournelle's CoDominium stories - Sauron. Unsurprisingly, this ended very, very badly.
    • One of the Sauron Soldiers actually reads the The Lord of the Rings and idly wonders how things would have turned out if the place had been named "Gandalf" instead.
  • The short story "Assumption" (scroll down) by Desmond Warzel mentions a planet named Threshold. Word of God says that this is a Shout-Out to the default hometown of player characters in Dungeons and Dragons (specifically, the Frank Mentzer-edited boxed sets from the 1980s).


Live Action TV


Video Games


Web Original


Real Life

  • The dwarf planet of Eris was originally named Xena by the team that discovered it. Naturally, they also named its moon Gabrielle. When that was also rejected by the astronomical community[3], they re-named the moon Dysnomia, which translates as "Lawlessness", after Lucy Lawless, the actress who portrayed Xena on television.
  • Another asteroid in the Main Belt is named 12796 Kamenrider.
  • Unlike the moons of the other planets (named for the associates of the gods in Classical Mythology), the moons of Uranus are named after characters (generally female) from the works of William Shakespeare and The Rape of the Lock. It isn't quite popular culture (these works were already over 200 years old when the moons were named in the mid-19th century), but these works are hardly mythology, either. And one must admit, it is rather fitting that the moons of the planet discovered by an Englishman (or rather an Anglicized German, but who's counting?) be named after the great works of English literature.
  • One astronomer named the asteroid he discovered Mr. Spock. To this day, he still claims that it's just named after his cat. People are no longer allowed to name asteroids after their pets because of this. Oddly, they are still allowed to name them after pop culture referrences.


Examples of Public Relations Naming of Planets

Real Life

  • The discoverer of Uranus was Sir William Herschel, a German who moved to England and did his most important work there, later becoming a British subject. He wanted to call the planet itself Georgium Sidus ("George's Star") or just "Planet George", after King George III, who was his patron. The name didn't stick.

Notes

  1. That's the planet Serenity Valley was located on, incidentally.
  2. It's technically "Vlik", or "perfectly nutritious dirt", but as they say -- hey, "earth" is pretty close.
  3. "Xena" and "Gabrielle" were temporary names used by the research team during the discovery and verification phases; they knew there wasn't a KBO's chance on Mercury the IAU would allow them to stay permanently.
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