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Regional daily launches 'name a planet' contest

Readers of a regional daily will have the chance to name a planet and its star in a new competition.

The Leicester Mercury has launched the contest in partnership with the University of Leicester, which has registered as one of a number of groups who are eligible to name one of 20-30 recently discovered planets, and their host stars, in a unique competition organised by the International Astronomical Union.

The university is asking readers of the Local World-owned title to come up with possible names, according to a set of rules.

A panel of experts from the university will whittle them down into a shortlist and Mercury readers will vote for their favourite.

The chosen name will then be sent to the IAU and a worldwide vote will determine the winners.

Mercury editor Kevin Booth said: “It’s great to work with the University of Leicester on such a unique project and we’re very excited about giving readers and people in the city and county an opportunity to be part of history and name an alien planet.

“We’ll probably never get the chance to do anything like this again, so we should definitely make the most of it.”

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