I was recently asked by a potential Handmade on Amazon customer a bit of an unusual question.
Bit of background, I make personalised star maps, customised with the customers details. They make really special wedding gifts or anniversary gifts. They are based on NASA data in the public domain. NASA data is accurate to the place, date and time of day.
Anyway the customer explained, their Brother and soon to be sister in law had been gifted a star. The customer would like it included in a custom star map for their wedding day and wanted to know if this would be possible.
I requested more info to see if I could help.
However, such a small request for a single star to be included in a personalised star map print is actually a huge undertaking!
Simplistically, the problem is that you may not be able to see it!
1. It may a low brightness star ( look up into the night sky, on a clear night, you will see lots of stars, but they are not all the same size or brightness, and most you can’t see with the naked eye!)
2. It may not be visible in our hemisphere.
Without more details I couldn’t say yes or no. However there is a bigger problem than that.
The International Astronomical Union (IAU) keeps international catalogues of astronomical objects. However, the IAU does not recognise these new namings from ‘name a star’ type companies.
The companies that sell the stars (or celestial objects) keep their own catalogue of named stars. It’s all a red herring really, as none of these made up catalogues will ever be used in a published journal, nor be found on your latest planetarium software. Therefore, one star may have 10, 50, 100 different names, as it is ‘sold’ over and over by different companies.
You’re paying for a star being named on a random database that no-one will ever see.
You will be pleased to know that the star map art I make is 100% genuine, and based on NASA data in the public domain. You can check your stars against the same details with any open source planetarium software before you place your order. Software such as www.Stellarium.org is great.