Star designation

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Designations of stars (and other celestial bodies) are done by the International Astronomical Union (IAU). Many of the star names in use today were inherited from the time before the IAU existed. Other names, mainly for variable stars (including novae and supernovae), are being added all the time. Most stars, however, have no name and are referred to, if at all, by means of catalogue numbers. This article briefly surveys some of the methods used to designate stars.


Proper names

Most bright naked eye stars have traditional names, most of which derive from Arabic, but a few from Latin. See List of traditional star names for a list of some of these names.

There are a number of problems with these names, however:

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