Naming Your Colony World
I think I'm going to call it... "Bob".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:
— Cale, Titan A.E.
- 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 New South Wales! 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, and have Truth in Television on your side into the bargain.
- 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. Case in point, don't name anything Icarus, because that myth involves him becoming too proud, flying too close to the sun, then falling to earth and dying as his wings melt. If your floating city or space colony is named this, the fate it meets is likely to be...unpleasant.
- Similarly, fiction is littered with planets called Hell, Hades, and similar names. They're usually called this for very good reasons. In many cases the original colonists were not there voluntarily, or didn't know what it was like when they left and couldn't turn back when they arrived (e.g.a Generation Ship or other one-way STL vessel).
- 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.
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See Numbered Homeworld and Egopolis for examples of planets named that way
Examples of "New" Planets
Films — Animated
- Titan A.E.:
- At the end, 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.
Films — Live-Action
- 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.
- Jerry Pournelle's CoDominium stories — New Washington, New Chicago, New Utah, Novi Kossovo, New Scotland and New Ireland (the last two are in the New Caledonia system). Which is at least not so confusing, since the original Washington, Chicago, Kosovo, Scotland, and Ireland, were pretty much wiped out in a nuclear war centuries earlier.
- Douglas Adams' The Hitchhikers 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 Humanx Commonwealth series — New Paris, New Riviera.
- Robert A. Heinlein — New Beginnings (Time Enough for Love), New Canaan (Tunnel in the Sky), New Mars (Starman Jones), the city of New Finlandia (Citizen Of The Galaxy)
- Ursula K. Le Guin's Hainish Cycle — New South Georgia, New Tahiti (AKA Athshe, World 41).
- Dan Simmons' Hyperion Cantos: — New Earth, New Mekka, New Harmony.
- 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 planets of Nashville and Yosemite are American-ethnic, Norfolk and Avon are English-ethnic, Kursk is Russian, Oshanko is Japanese, Garissa is Kenyan, and Kulu is...unclear.
- Robert J. Sawyer's Starplex has Tau Ceti IV and Epsilon Indi III, otherwise known as New Beijing and New New York.
- In the Spaceforce books, Earth is at the centre of a galactic union of about 1200 planets, which demonstrate the full range of colony world naming conventions. New Scotland and New Florida are mentioned.
- H. Beam Piper's Lone Star Planet: Capella IV, a.k.a. New Texas.
- The Saga of Seven Suns: New Portugal.
- Spider Robinson in Variable Star has Brasil Novo (New Brazil). The native-born Brazilians on the colony ship aren't very happy when other people start calling it "Bravo."
- The Eschaton Series: The planet of New Muscovy, which includes the land of New Austria and the city of New Prague. There's also Novy Petrograd (New St. Petersburg), the capital of Rochard's World. These are mostly justified, since most of these planet's inhabitants were transported there suddenly.
- The planets of New Dresden and Novy Kurdistan appear in the second book.
- Sundowner Sheila: Terra Nova.
- 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 York (though as the 15th incarnation, it'd technically be New New New New New New New New New New New New New New New York), on New Earth. Also New Canaan, New Washington, New Alexandria, New Venus, and New Savannah.
- 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.
- In the series finale, the remaining survivors manage to find a habitable planet to settle on: the planet Earth.
- Fireball XL5 — New Earth
- New Melbourne and New Canaan in Firefly.
- Star Trek — New (Earth, France, Gaul, Paris, Berlin, Manhattan, Providence, Reykjavik, Seattle, Sydney, Halana, Sahara, Siberia, Brooklyn IX, Bajor). The first human interstellar colony, Eta Cassiopeia III, was also named Terra Nova.
- 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.
- BattleTech: New Earth.
- The card game Race For The Galaxy has a starting planet called New Sparta, and World cards called New Earth and New Vinland.
- 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.
- Elite: New California.
- New Terra in Outpost 2, even though it's much more similar to Mars. It does have one important similarity with Old Terra in that it gets blown up.
- 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, most notably New England and New Ireland. Nova also has Neo New York, though that colony has long since been abandoned when the game starts
- "New Gettysburg" in StarCraft I, the big turning-point battle and the beginning of the end of the Confederacy of Man. One wonders why a faction calling itself the Confederacy that uses the Stars and Bars as its flag in a Terran society peppered with Deep South stereotypes would name (or not rename) a location named after the real-life counterpart's high-water mark.
- The Starcraft II Wings Of Liberty campaign includes a mission on the prison planet New Folsom, presumably a nod towards the real maximum-security Folsom State Prison in California.
- EVE Online has New Caldari. One wonders what happened to Old Caldari.
- No Man's Sky has planets named New Eridu, New Digdigter, New Arion, and New Ventu, among others. One can only wonder what happened to Old Eridu, Digdigter, Arion, and Ventu.
- The Pentagon War has asteroids named New France and New Mars.
- 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).
- Orion's Arm: New Root, New Gaia, New Mars, Nova Terra (not to be confused with Terranova), New Montana, New Robinson, New Sol, New Daffy, New Vulcan, not to mention all the planets called New Earth.
- Transformers Animated: New Kaon.
Examples of Symbolically Named Planets
- Older Than Steam: The original Utopia was named because it literally means both "nowhere" (outopia) and "good place" (eutopia) in Greek.
- 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..
- Some others: Blackbird, Air, Flax, Lynx, Phoenix, Pontifex, Shuttlesport, Smoking Frog, Basilica, Marsh, Midsummer, Unicorn.
- Isaac Asimov's Foundation series — Terminus, Haven, Gaia/Galaxia.
- 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
- The Alliance/Union universe (of which the book is a part) also includes Glory, Thule, Eldorado, Venture, Esperance, Paradise and Fargone.
- Orson Scott Card's Ender series: Path, Hijra, Divine Wind.
- 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 Humanx Commonwealth series — Hivehom, Dawn, Willow-Wane, Midworld, Horseye, Longtunnel, Moth, Prism, Comagrave.
- Peter F. Hamilton's The Night's Dawn trilogy — Eden, Felicity, Atlantis, Tranquility.
- Robert A. Heinlein's stories — Faraway, Sanctuary, Sheol, Inferno, Whistle Stop, Far-Star, Ultima Thule, Heavenly Mountains, Thule, Blessed, Felicity, Landfall.
- Andrey Livadny's The History of the Galaxy series — Paradise
- Larry Niven's Known Space stories had Wunderland, Hearth, Home, We Made It (with its capital city Crashlanding), Primary, Jinx, Plateau, Cue Ball, Canyon, Down, Sheathclaws, and Silvereyes.
- People from We Made It are referred to as "Crashlanders". See if you can guess why!
- Because of its thick Venus-like atmosphere, Plateau is uninhabitable apart from a single mountain, 40 kilometres high, with the colony huddled on its flat top. That is obviously how the planet got its name, but the mountain itself is named for the remark by the captain of the first colony ship when he spotted it, after cruising around for hours looking for a landing site: Mount Lookitthat.
- 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, a giant canyon roughly the size of Baja California.
- NowWhat and its capital OhWell from Mostly Harmless.
- Jerry Pournelle's CoDominium series has the likes of Covenant, Haven, Arrarat, Friedland, Tabletop, and Xanadu.
- Philip K Dick's The Unteleported Man: Whale's Mouth.
- Paul J. McAuley's In The Mouth Of The Whale also had a planet called Whale's Mouth. Both of these are a reference to the location of Fomalhaut in the constellation Piscis Austrinus.
- Alastair Reynolds's Revelation Space stories have lots of these : Diadem, Sky's Edge, Haven, Grand Teton, Spindrift, Turqoise, Resurgam ("resurgent/re-emergeant").
- Dan Simmons' Hyperion Cantos : Renaissance Vector, Mare Infinitus, Garden, God's Grove, Nordholm, Heaven's Gate, Whirl, Madre De Dios, Esperance, Sibiatu's Bitterness (a.k.a. Inevitable Grace), Nevermore (which is apparently in perpetual twilight)
- Arkady and Boris Strugatsky's Noon Universe series had Ark, Hope, Pandora and Rainbow.
- In Spaceforce's United Worlds of Earth, the older colony worlds were given 'cheesy' names like Hope, Inspiration and Horizon.
- Jack Vance's The Demon Princes Rigel Concourse — Barleycorn, Chrysanthe, Elfland, Goshen, Hardacres, Image, Lyonesse, Nowhere, Somewhere, Tantamount, Unicorn, Xion, Ys.
- Vance's novel Big Planet had the titular (not very imaginatively named) planet.
- Star Wars Expanded Universe — Bastion, Despayre (prison planet), Foundry, Necropolis.
- Rocheworld series: The titular "world" is a pair of planets called Roche (meaning Rock) and Eau (Water). One of the sequels(itis) involves the planet Gargantua.
- 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). Others include Tribute, Circumstance, Tantalus, Threshold, Basis, and Onyx. 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.
- Hal Clement's stories: Tenebra, Enigma 88.
- Charles Sheffield's Heritage Universe: Opal, Quake, Plesureworld, Iceworld, Deadworld, Sentinel Gate.
- The Saga Of Seven Suns: Corvus Landing, Palisade, Rendezvous, Hurricane Depot, Sunshine, Happiness.
- Anne McCaffrey's Catteni Series: Botany.
- 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.
- Greg Bear's Hegira.
- 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.)
- Dragon's Egg: The title refers to a Neutron Star, so named because it first appeared beneath Draco, as if the constellation had laid an egg.
- The novel Furthest is set on a planet of the same name, which literally is the furthest from...pretty much anywhere.
- In The Cunning Blood, Zeta Tucanae I and II were nicknamed Longshadow and Hell, respectively.
- Space Prison: Ragnarok.
- The Gaea trilogy: Gaea.
- The Polish novel Cylindra Van Troffa had Filia (Daughter).
- Forever Free, the sequel to The Forever War, has the planet Middle Finger. Whoever named that one had an weird sense of humour.
- All three of the extrasolar colonies visited in the Star Carrier series use this version for their local names. (Their navigation names fall under Numbered Homeworld instead.
- In the Jacobs Ladder Trilogy, the crew of Jacob's Ladder call their destination planet "Grail", because it's the goal of their long quest and because Jacob Dust gave the ship medieval-Arthurian storybook stylings.
Live Action TV
- Andromeda — Acheron, Halcyon, Serendipity
- Blakes Seven — Destiny, Goth, Horizon, Albion, Obsidian, Teal, Spaceworld, Freedom City, Space City, Ultraworld, Terminal, Star One.
- Doctor Who universe — Anathema, Arcadia, Heaven, Hell, Eden, Oblivion, Sheol.
- Fireball XL5 does this by way of puns: Amazonia, Aridan, Conva, Granatoid, Herbos, Magneton, Minerra, Platonia, and Triad.
- Firefly — Haven, Shadow, Hope, Angel, Beaumonde, Lilac, Triumph, Whitefall, Greenleaf, Harvest, Highgate, Newhall, Silverhold, Three Hills, Verbena, and — of course — Serenity
- Star Trek — Babel, Eden, Gaia, Genesis, Gideon, Haven, Hell, Parliament, Tantalus, Ultima Thule.
- Space: Above and Beyond: Anvil.
- The colony ship in Power Rangers Lost Galaxy was named Terra Venture.
- Warhammer 40,000: No one has any idea in what universe it was a good idea to name a planet Armageddon. No matter the Imperium has been fighting so many wars against Orks on this planet that Armageddon 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.
- 2300 AD: Sheol, Limbes ("Limbo" in French).
- Rifts had Wormwood (in a parallel universe).
- One of the factions in Outpost 2 named their colony Eden. The other, breakaway faction decided on the equally symbolic but more down-to-earth "Plymouth". Both these names end up being quite appropriate in their own ways, as the single-player campaign ends with the player's faction being forced off the planet in a spaceship. Especially "Eden", given that it was their faction who got everyone into this mess when their terraforming technology went Grey Goo and ultimately destroyed the planet.
- The intro mission in the first 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.
- Elite: Eden, Discovery, Merlin.
- Star Control II: Gaia.
- 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 (and if they were founded as a land-base or a sea-base):
- 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.
- This continues in the Expansion Pack with the new factions:
- The Cybernetic Consciousness names bases with the "[Greek letter] [some other word]" template (e.g. Alpha Prime, Delta Trench, Omicron Quadrangle).
- The Free Drones name their bases after the ideas of liberation and worker equality (e.g. Free Drone Central, Worker's Paradise, Chainlink Break).
- The Nautilus Pirates, naturally, use nautical names for both land and sea bases (being a sea-based faction, they have more sea base names than others). Examples: Deadman Tavern, Landlubber Inn, Safe Haven, Cutlass Cay, Port Svensgaard.
- The Cult of Planet are another religious faction (except non-Christian), and their base names reflect that: Dawn of Planet, Seers of Chiron, Planetvision Gate, Ark of the Edicts.
- The Data Angels have, for the most part, Cyber Punk-related base names: Data DeCentral, Gibson Base, Trojan Source, Stack Heap, Tears in Rain.
- The Planetary Caretakers, being aliens, have strange-sounding names that, nevertheless, carry their point of keeping Planet from Transcending in memor of their destroyed homeworld (e.g. Tau Ceti Memory, Hymn : Modulation, Adapt to Live, Home : Hearth.
- The Planetary Usurpers are the other side of the coin, being warriors by nature they have appropriate base names (e.g. Courage : To Question, Strafing Run, Tusk and Claw, Salt : Wound, Tau Ceti Mantle).
- Escape Velocity: Nova: Nirvana, Gem, Snowmelt, Diva.
- Silicon Dreams: The Snowball 9 was travelling the the planet Eden.
- Terra Nova: Strike Force Centauri: NewHope.
- Pirate Galaxy: Axiom.
- 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.
- The manual for Homeworld II implies that this was indeed the name of the planet.
- 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.
- Orion's Arm: Twilight, Pacifica, Arcadia, Fons Luminis, Silence, Halcyon, Atlantis, Ecotopia, Felicidade, Trees, Newlife, Newhope, Root, Metropolis.
Examples of Mythology Named Planets
- DC Universe: Argo, Scylla.
- Avatar: Polyphemus and its moon Pandora.
- Earth*Star Voyager: Demeter.
- The Honor Harrington series is full of Mnemosyne names like Manticore, Sphinx, Medusa, Hades (nicknamed Hell, see symbolic names), and Gryphon. There's also Beowulf and Grendelsbane.
- Some other mythological names include Asgard, Durandel, and Enki.
- 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".
- Robert A. Heinlein's stories: Elysia, Mithra, Tangaroa, Hespera, Hekate, Valhalla.
- Larry Niven's Known Space has Fafnir and Kobold.
- Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time — Camazotz, Uriel
- Poul Anderson's Fire Time — Ishtar and its triple suns Anu, Bel, and Ea.
- Harvest Of Stars, by the same author, has Demeter.
- Jerry Pournelle's CoDominium: Krishna.
- Alan Dean Foster's Humanx Commonwealth has Annubis (sic).
- The Night's Dawn Trilogy has Perseus, Romulus, Remus, and Pallas.
- Terran Trade Authority: Procyon II, also named Sisyphus.
- Another Hyperion Cantos 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).
- Lusus, Ixion, and Parvati are also examples.
- Alastair Reynolds' Revelation Space series includes examples such as Zion, Ararat, Golgota, (Biblical), Fand (Celtic mythology), Roc (giant bird from Persian mythology), Hades, Cerberus (Greek mythology), Hela, Haldora (Norse mythology).
- The Heorot trilogy: Tau Ceti IV, a.k.a. Avalon.
- Orson Scott Card's Ender series: Eros.
- L. Sprague de Camp's Viagens Inerplanetarias uses this, Theme Naming different systems with different mythologies: Tau Ceti has Krishna, Vishnu, and Ganesha (Hindu), Procyon has Osiris, Isis, and Thoth (Egyptian), Epsilon Eridani has Kulkulkan (Maya).
- H. Beam Piper's Terro-Human Future History went this route, (Uller, Niflheim, and Zarathustra being some of the most noticable) reserving Greek and Roman names for the Solar System. Then they gave up on it because they were running out of names.
- Jack Vance's The Demon Princes — Jezebel.
- Isaac Asimov's Foundation series — most of the original Spacer worlds. Aurora (originally New Earth) and Melpomenia are two we get to visit.
- Saga Of The Seven Suns: Charybdis.
- Piers Anthony's Chthon: The titular planet.
- The collaborative world-building project set on the planet Medea.
- The Minerva series had the titular planet, now known as the Asteroid Belt.
- Deucalion had the titular planet Deucalion, while its capital New Geneva is an example of New Something naming.
- Singularity: Bifrost and Heimdall.
- Star Corps: Marduk and its moon Ishtar.
- Harry Turtledove's A World Of Difference had the planet Minerva, replacing Mars in that universe.
Live Action TV
- Andromeda — Tartarus, Hephaestus
- Doctor Who universe — Olympus
- Firefly: Osiris, Ezra, Persephone, Bellorophon, Ares, Sihnon, Heranote
- Star Trek: Romulus (and its brother planet Remus), Qo'noS (transliterated to Kronos in English) & Vulcan.
- Space: Above and Beyond: Vesta, Tellus, Ixion.
- Star Maidens: Medusa.
- In Traveller most of the planets of the Sword Worlds are named after swords. Some mythological and some from the works of J. R. R. Tolkien as Sword Worlders hold him in awe.
- 2300 AD has Moiroi, and it's moons Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos.
- Fighting Fantasy: Titan.
- Blue Planet had Lambda Serpentis II, named Poseidon.
- Borderlands: Prometheus and Pandora. The MegaCorps on Pandora seem to follow the Titan theme naming, like Atlas and Hyperion.
- 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, indirectly, the mythological Pholus—with one arrow?note 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....
- Various other celestial bodies in the Alpha Centauri system are also given names related to Greek centaurs and their complex relationship with Hercules.
- 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.
- Alien Legacy: Gaea.
- Terminal Velocity: Ymir.
- Planet Calypso
- The flash game Colony is set on Minerva, the first human interstellar colony, a.k.a. Space Australia.
- Artemis Neo has the planet Artemis, named after the Greek Goddess.
- 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.
- Orion's Arm: Dionysus, Nessus, Daedelus, Deucalion, Vulcan, Gaia, Zarathustra, Diwali, Ain Soph Aur.
- Transformers: Gaea, Jörmungandr, Hyperion.
- 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 Ra/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.
- Saturn's largest moon Titan, having a rich array of geological (Titanological?) features recently discovered, has a few of these:
- Maria—large hydrocarbon seas—are named after mythological sea creatures/sea monsters. There are three of them: Kraken Mare (after, um, the Kraken), Ligea Mare (after one of the Sirens of Classical Mythology), and Punga Mare (after Punga, the ancestor of sharks in Maori mythology).
- Fluminae—hydrocarbon rivers—are named after mythological rivers (e.g. Celadon Flumina, after the river in the Iliad, and Elivagar Flumina, after a group of ice rivers in Norse myth).
- Albedo features—areas darker or lighter than surrounding terrain—are named after various paradises in mythology.
- Several different kinds of features are named after deities of happiness; craters and "large ringed features" are named after deities of wisdom; virgae (large colored features) are named after rain gods; and fluctuses (flow features) are named after deities of beauty.
Examples of Numbers And Letters Planets
- DC Universe — 1417.196.E, J586
- Dan Simmons' Hyperion Cantos — NGCes 2629-4BIV
- Star Wars Expanded Universe — M2398, M4-78
- No numbers, but 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 Vorkosigan Saga 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
- Andros of Power Rangers in Space hails from KO-35.
- 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). Once it's known by the SGC or Atlantis, this name usually replaces the alphanumeric registry code.
- Star Trek — AR-558, L374, M-113, MS1, MZV
- 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.
- 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" when it was settled, after the company that terraformed it.
- 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".
- 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
Anime And Manga
- UFO Robo Grendizer: Vega.
- Aquarion Evol: Vega and Altair.
- Monty: One of the characters is an alien who claims to be from the planet Rigel.
- Antares is set on a planet of the same name, orbiting the star of the same name.
- 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.)
- Numbers are also attached to planets, to make it it clear which planet is being referenced (Yavin IV).
- Spaceballs visits "the Moon Of Vega", although this being Spaceballs it's not supposed to make sense.
- Moon Pilot had an alien from the planet Beta Lyrae.
- In the Honor Harrington novels, the mythology inspired planet Manticore is located in the star system of Manticore.
- Dune mentions a planet called Bela Tegeuse, which may be a corruption of Betelgeuse.
- The Halo expanded universe has the planet Algolis orbiting, you guessed it, Algol.
- In Anne McCaffrey's Talent series, the planet Deneb circles the star Deneb.
- The Rowan, by the same author, has the planet Altair.
- Isaac Asimov's Foundation series — Rigel, Gaia, Sayshell, Alpha.
- Robert A. Heinlein's Citizen Of The Galaxy has Proxima.
- The Weintraub family from the Hyperion Cantos hails from Barnard's World. No prizes for guessing which star it orbits.
- There's also Tau Ceti Center, the capital of the Hegemony.
- In the Alliance/Union universe, most Stations are named after the stars they orbit: Alpha Centauri, Barnard's, Kapteyn, Kruger 60, GRM 34, 82 Eridani, 40 Eridani, Beta Cassiopeia, etc.
- One of Jack Vance's Dying Earth stories references Sadal Suud (from Sadalsuud, now more commonly known as Beta Aquarii).
- Space Opera had Sirius Planet.
- Cordwainer Smith's On The Sand Planet has Misser, which is probably a corruption of Mizar. "Misr" is also Arabic for Egypt, which the planet's climate and culture parallels.
- Andromeda: A Space Age Tale: 61 Cygni.
- Non-Stop: Procyon.
- Stargonauts has Algol.
- 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
- Again, the Honor Harrington series has an example with the planet Montana. Which is also a Planet of Hats who act like stereotypical Montanans. There's also Casimir, Congo, Prague, San Martin, Zulu, Dresden, and Zanzibar.
- 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.
- Jerry Pournelle's CoDominium series: Frystaat, High Cathay, High Shanghai, Danube, Deigo, Santiago, Domingo, Dalarna, Makassar, Levant, Meiji, Zanj, and, last but not least, Sparta.
- 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.
- Michael Moorcock's The Black Corridor: Munich 15040.
- Dan Simmons' Hyperion Cantos has a lot of these, since the series is essentially about humanity becoming stagnant despite moving to the stars: Maui-Covenant has mobile islands and intelligent dolphins, Tsingtao-Hsishuang Panna is populated mainly by Chinese and famed for its food, T'ien Shan is full of Chinese Buddhist temples, Fuji has its samurai businessmen, Hebron is the site of New Jerusalem, Qom-Riyadh has a Muslim population, Madhya is presumably Indian, etc.
- Orson Scott Card's Ender series: Lusitania, Trondheim, Pacifica, Ganges, Moskva, Albion, Zanzibar.
- Gordon R. Dickson's Childe Cycle: Ste. Marie, Freiland, Oriente.
- Jack Vance's The Demon Princes — Madagascar, Raratonga, Walpurgis.
- Adaptation: Genoa and Texcoco.
- Alastair Reynolds' Revelation Space universe: Yellowstone.
- Thousand Cultures: Hedon.
- The Eschaton Series: The planet of Moscow.
- Encounter With Tiber: The titular planet Tiber.
- Empire Star: Tyre.
- In one of the least imaginative examples of this ever, the Iota Cycle has Iota Horologii orbited by Australia, Asia, Europe, Africa, America, and Antarctica.
- A variation in Mikhail Akhmanov's Arrivals from the Dark series, where an Earth-like world found and settled by humans is named Gondwana after an ancient Earth supercontinent (the southern one). Basically, it's named after a place that used to be real.
- Deliberately done in Akhmanov's Dick Simon duology where the various Earth nations, after the discovery of the Ramp, moved whole cities to newly-discovered habitable worlds, leaving Earth covered in enormous craters. Interestingly, when the US, Canada, UK, and Japan chose to move to the same world, they named their new planet Columbia in honor of Christopher Columbus, figuring he was there before Amerigo Vespucci. European nations call their new planet Europe and even named the four continents after old names for European places: Gallia (French), Iberia (Spanish), Teutonia (German), and Slavenia (Ukrainian, Czechs, and Poles). Russia moves to Russia, along with Kazakhstan, Bulgaria, India, and a dozen others. Most Asian nations went to China. Rich South American countries (including Brasil, Peru, and Argentina) went to Southmerica. The rest of the Latin American nations were sent to the less hospitable Latmerica, which continues to be the hotbed for wars and coups. Black-skinned Africans, and a few African-Americans forming the nation of New Alabama, went to a world they called Black Africa. Muslim countries split into three worlds: Ul-Islam (dominated by Iran), Allahu Akbar (mostly Arabs), and Seljukia (dominated by Turkey and Pakistan). Many other worlds were settled by smaller groups seeking independence: Manitou and Amazonia (Native Americans), Himalayas, Monaco, Kurdistan, Vasconia, Sicily-2, New Ireland, Tahiti, Singapore. And those are just the more important worlds, including the unimaginatively-named planets Galactic University (center of academic learning) and Firing Range (Space Police HQ). Overall, there are about 500 planets where humans are present, including a few worlds with natives, all by the end of the 21st century. Unsurprisingly, the most unstable worlds are Latmerica, Black Africa, Ul-Islam, and Allahu Akbar. All settled planets have Ramp stations, forming a Portal Network of sorts. The only planets that don't are prison worlds, garbage worlds, and Old Earth (cut off from the Ramp near the end of the Exodus).
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.
- Firefly has Londinium (the Roman name for London), Penglai, Aberdeen, Deadwood, Jiangyin, Regina, St. Albans, Athens, Kerry, Salisbury, and Whittier.
- 2300 AD has Tau Ceti II and Epsilon Eridani II, otherwise known as Kwantung and Dukou, respectively. Also, Tiranë and Montaña.
- The city of Nuevo Angeles on Kwantung is an example of New Something naming.
- FTL: 2448 has America.
- 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.
- Presumably, the capitals were the ones settled first (the hulks of the Sleeper Starships make up memorable skyscrapers on those worlds). After that, it would make sense that colonists far away from Earth wouldn't much care about adding "new" to all names.
- 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.
- Escape Velocity: Nova has Las Vegas.
- 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.
- Orion's Arm: Audubon, Tierra Del Fuego, Penglai, Danzig.
- Saturn's largest moon Titan, having a rich array of geological (Titanological?) features recently discovered, has a few of these:
- Faculae—"bright spots" on the moon's surface—are (save one) named after islands on Earth that are not countries unto themselves (e.g., Crete Facula, Mindanao Facula, Oahu Facula).
- The lacus and lacunae of Titan—hydrocarbon lakes and dry lake beds, respectively—are named after Earth lakes (e.g. Ontario Lacus, Jingpo Lacus, Eyre Lacuna). Bays (sinus in Latin) in both these and in the maria (hydrocarbon seas, named after mythical sea monsters) are also named after similar features on Earth (e.g. Moray Sinus, Puget Sinus).
Examples of Planets Named for People
- Interstellar: The extrasolar planets are given flatly descriptive, preliminary names, each based on the surname of the explorer sent to study it: Miller's Planet, Mann's Planet, Edmunds' Planet...
- Guess what? Honor Harrington strikes again, with the planet Grayson, named after a religious leader who founded it.
- And also Monica, Barnett, Gregor, Halliman, Hamilton, Hancock, Parmley, Trevor's Star, Yeltsin's Star...
- 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.
- Jerry Pournelle's CoDominium series: Tanith, Prince Samual's World, St. Ekaterina, Maxroy's Purchase, Franklin, Dayan, Istvan, Byer's World, and, of course, Murcheson's Eye.
- The Vorkosigan Saga has Barrayar, named after the ruling Vorbarra family, and Sergyar, named after Prince Serg.
- In the Hyperion Cantos, it's explained that the three continents of Hyperion are more properly called Creighton, Allensen, and Lopez, after three mid-level bureaucrats in the Survey Service. Everybody just calls them Equus, Ursa, and Aquila after the animals they're shaped like instead. (A theme which is carried on in several locations on the planet, like the Bridle Range, Horse's Eye, Cat Key, Felix, etc.)
- Gordon R. Dickson's Childe Cycle: Cassida, Coby, Dunnin's World.
- Robert A. Heinlein's stories: Garson's Planet, Byer's Planet.
- 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.)
- Alastair Reynolds' Revelation Space universe: Marco's Eye, the moon of the planet Yellowstone. Named after one of the earliest explorer's of the planet's star system.
- 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."
- The Heritage universe has Miranda.
- Biosphere: Boglietti's Planet.
- Jack Vance's The Demon Princes — The planets in the Vega system: Padraic, Mona, Noaille, Aloysius, Boniface, and Cuthbert.
- Diogenes and Fiame in the Rigel Concourse.
- One of the most important planets in the Alliance/Union universe is Pell's World, orbiting Pell's Star. There's also Russell's, Bryant's and Wyatt's.
- In an odd example that doesn't really fit in any category, some stations were named after famous space probes: Viking, Mariner, Voyager, etc.
- Orson Scott Card's Ender series: Shakespeare.
- John Barnes' Thousand Cultures series: all planets are named for Nobel Peace Prize laureates, e.g. (Woodrow) Wilson, (Theodore) Roosevelt, and (Jane) Addams.
- The Eschaton Series: Rochard's World.
- Downward To The Earth: Holman's World, known to its natives as Belzagor.
- The Saga Of Seven Suns: Boone's Crossing, Forrey's Folley, Barrymore's Rock.
- When Worlds Collide: Bronson Alpha and Bronson Beta.
- Singularity: Mancken's World.
- Shivering World: Goddard and Copernicus.
- Empire Star: Rhys.
- One case of planets being named after animals rather than people: in Coyote, the 47 Ursae Majoris system includes the planets Fox, Raven, Wolf, and Bear, and Bear's moons Dog, Hawk, Eagle, Coyote, Snake, and Goat.
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.
- Firefly: Higgins' Moon, Qin Shi Huong, Bernadette, Constance, Muir.
- The Outer Limits (1963) episode "Wolf 359" had Dundee Planet.
- Tom Corbett, Space Cadet: Roald.
- Blindpassasjer: Rossum.
- 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 woman in space) systems. Humanity's first and largest deep space station is also named Gagarin Station.
- Elite: Taylor Colony, Tracy's Haven.
- Terra Nova: Strike Force Centauri: Thatcher.
- Escape Velocity has a few planets named "X's world," with the funniest examples being Murphy's World ("a planet of terrible luck") and George's World (in the THX-1138 system).
- 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.
- And Herschel himself tried to name the planet "Georgium Sidus" or George's Star, after King George III, his patron. Needless to say, astronomers outside of Britain were not too thrilled with his choice.
- A large number of asteroids are named after people, sometimes the discoverers themselves, but more typically people that they find notable (anyone who discovers an asteroid gets the right to name it whatever they want, within certain restrictions).See here.
Examples of Planets Named The Same
- 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".note
- While they're not planets per se, No Man's Sky has two systems named Paroi. The difference between them is that one is named Paroi Minor and the other is named Paroi Major.
Examples of Planets Named Erewhon
- 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
- 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.
- Jack Vance's The Demon Princes-Krokinole, Quinine (a fever medicine), Valisande.
- 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 & Dragons (specifically, the Frank Mentzer-edited boxed sets from the 1980s).
- Honor Harrington has a base called DuQuesne.
- The Revelation Space series has a planet called Tangerine Dream.
- Mikhail Akhmanov and Christopher Nicholas Gilmore's Captain French, or the Quest for Paradise has tons of Planet Shout Outs, usually lampshaded by the authors (there is an appendix at the end of the book with all the references). Sometimes the source is referenced by the first-person titular protagonist.
- Murphy - borrowed from Earthman Come Home by James Blish. In-universe, named after the captain of the colony ship Simon Murphy.
- Pern - obviously taken from Dragonriders of Pern by Anne McCaffrey, who is mentioned by name by another character, except over 20,000 years her name has been mangled into Annette McClosky. It's implied that the planet was named so because of certain flying reptiles native to it.
- Barsoom - the native name for Mars in John Carter of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs. It's a low-gravity world whose colonists have evolved into lanky humanoids.
- Eden and Solaris - taken from the eponymous novels by Stanislaw Lem. And yes, the second one is a water world with colonists living on islands making up about 3% of the surface.
- Trantor and Aurora - planets in Isaac Asimov's Foundation series.
- Tranai - a "utopia" invented by Robert Sheckley in A Ticket to Tranai.
- Viola Siderea - taken from "Mother Hitton's Littul Kittons" by Cordwainer Smith.
- Camelot and Logres - places in the King Arthur myths.
- Malacandra - planet in Out of the Silent Planet by C. S. Lewis.
- Star Carrier: Deep Space has a planet called Vulcan. This would normally fall into the series' Symbolica pattern, except for the fact that the planet orbits 40 Eridani A, Vulcan's quasi-canonical* location in Star Trek. This is explicitly true In-Universe, although the name Star Trek isn't mentioned.
Live Action TV
- Many of the planet names in Sword of the Stars are references to other media or mythology.
- Escape Velocity:
- Names of planets and their systems in Classic are often references to famous novels and films, particularly those featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000. Examples include Dune (Arrakis system), Akio (Guiron system), Beeblebrox (Zaphod system), Dark Star (Nemesis system), Hikeeba (Gymkata system), Samson's Planet (El Santo system). Whether Sauron is a reference to The Lord of the Rings or the CoDominium novels is unclear.
- Nova has a pair of Wraith systems dubbed One'E'Ringa and Too'E'Bindem.
- Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri and its Alien Crossfire expansion give us a couple of these:
- No Man's Sky has, as one of its procedurally-generated planets, LV-426. Unlike the film, however, the planet is lush and green.
- 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 communitynote , 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 Kamen Rider.
- 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. Originally, the names were given with the idea that Uranus, a sky god, would be attended by "spirits of the air" like the fairies Titania and Oberon from A Midsummer Night's Dream or the sylphs Ariel and Umbriel from The Rape of the Lock, but later astronomers started to just take names from the works rather than continue with the air-spirits theme. These works aren't quite popular culture (they were already over 200 years old when the moons were named in the mid-19th century), but they 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.
- Another actual astronomical naming convention demanding pop culture references has arisen respecting geographical features on Saturn's largest moon, Titan. Montes (mountain ranges) on Titan are named after mountains in Tolkien's Legendarium (e.g. Misty Montes, Mindolluin Montes, Taniquetil Montes, Doom Montes); planitia (low plains) and labyrinthi (complex series of valleys and ridges) are named after planets in Frank Herbert's Dune universe (e.g. Arrakis Planitia, Chusuk Planitia, Sikun Labyrinthus); and each fretum (strait connecting larger bodies of liquid) is named after a character from Isaac Asimov's Foundation universe (e.g. Hardin Fretum, Seldon Fretum).
- 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 references.
- The extrasolar planet Kepler-16b is unofficially nicknamed Tatooine because it orbits Binary Suns.
- There are petitions on Change.Org to rename a nebula to "Madokami" and a newly discovered planet to "Gallifrey". Some signatories cite the argument that "fiction is just new mythology, and plenty of stuff already has a mythological name", other signatories cite a wish to acknowledge and promote the show and/or its ideals, and still others are taking it too seriously or not seriously at all. note .
Examples of Public Relations Naming of Planets
- Galileo Galilei originally called the four large moons of Jupiter that he discovered Cosmica Sidera (Latin for "Cosimo's Stars") after his patron Cosimo de' Medici. Cosimo suggested he change it to Medicea Sidera (the "Medicean Stars") for all four Medici brothers. Simon Marius, who independently discovered the moons shortly after Galileo, came up with the contemporary names (Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto), after Johannes Kepler suggested that he name them for the lovers of Zeus. These names stuck despite Galileo's protests; in the process, however, Galileo invented the ancestor of the modern system of giving designations of the planet+a Roman numeral in order of distance from the primary (e.g. calling Ganymede Jupiter III)
- 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; the French in particular didn't fancy honouring the British monarch every time they mentioned the seventh planet, and came up with a number of alternate names—one of which was Herschel, funnily enough, and another, Neptune (yes). Eventually, a German named Bode suggested that if Saturn was named after the father of Jupiter, this planet should be named after the father of Saturn—Uranus. The name stuck (with a little help from the chemists, who gave the newly-discovered uranium its name to back Bode up).