Photo by James Horan

Name a Star

Look to the heavens above and Name a Star in the southern sky! Each star in the Sydney Southern Star Catalogue compiled by Sydney Observatory astronomers* is unique and will only be named once, by you. Throughout 2018, Sydney Observatory is also offering a limited number of premium stars in celebration of the Observatory’s 160th birthday. These stars have a far brighter magnitude and come with a special certificate.

All available stars are visible from anywhere in Australia and the Southern Hemisphere, including the telescopes at Sydney Observatory. Please note that the Name a Star program is not suitable if you wish to view your star in the Northern Hemisphere.

You can also book a private viewing of your star through the Observatory’s telescopes for an additional $60 (weather permitting^).

Each individual Name A Star gift is non-refundable and fully tax-deductible, with your donation helping to fund Sydney Observatory’s maintenance, heritage and collection programs.

 

Unable to complete the online form?

  • Print the appropriate form for your request (individuals or corporations)
  • Scan and email it to info@maas.museum OR
  • Fax it to Sydney Observatory on (02) 9921 3489 OR
  • Mail it to Sydney Observatory, 1003 Upper Fort Street, Millers Point, NSW, 2000

What does the package include?

An example of a Name a Star package.

The individual Name A Star package includes:

  • a certificate (suitable for framing)
  • letter to the person receiving the package, and another to the person giving the package
  • star charts and co-ordinates showing where the star is located in the night sky
  • postage via Express Post within Australia
  • a tax receipt for your donation

You can also book an optional private viewing of your star with one of Sydney Observatory’s guides through our telescopes for an additional $60 (allows up to 4 people).

Our dedicated Name a Star viewings take place on Wednesday and Sunday evenings from 8–10pm, lasting 20 minutes each. They must be booked 2 weeks in advance, with your time confirmed by Sydney Observatory 72 hours prior to the viewing. The times are subject to the best viewing conditions.

Please note that bookings are non-refundable and viewings are weather dependent. If it is not possible to see the night sky through cloud, the tour will still proceed with a cozy planetarium tour. However, rain-checks are available to those who contact the Observatory prior to 12 noon on the day of their tour. Bookings can be made by calling (02) 9217 0111.

Before booking your private viewing please view our terms and conditions for Name a Star viewing sessions.

Prices

The following charges apply to the Name a Star program.

OptionCost

Individuals $330
Premium 160th Anniversary Star $1,600
MAAS Members $275
Corporations $1,250

Optional Viewing Pass for 4  $60
Additional charges apply for duplicate certificates or star charts.

How to view your star

Included in every Name A Star package are star maps to assist you in locating your star along with instructions. These maps include

  • a circular star chart
  • a star chart for binoculars
  • a star chart for telescopes

To see the star you have named in the night sky, you will need

  • a pair of binoculars or a small telescope
  • a torch (covered with red cellophane to preserve your night vision)
  • the circular star chart
  • the star chart for binoculars or telescopes, depending on the device you are using.

Start with the circular star chart. The position of the star you have named is indicated by a square box with a circle in the middle near the centre of the map.

The centre of the star chart represents the point directly above your head, called the zenith point, and the outer circular edge represents the horizon in all directions. Marked around the maps horizon are the compass points north, south, east, and west. You can determine which direction you are facing by using a compass, map, or street directory.

Lift the star chart so that it is above your head and rotate it so all the compass points are in the correct direction. You can now compare the stars on the map with the stars in the night sky. Use this map to identify the area of sky in which your star is located.

Once you locate the area, go to the second star chart (for binoculars or telescopes, whichever applies for you). These maps zoom into the area of sky covered by the square on the first circular map. The star’s location is marked by a small black circle.

The time and date on the bottom of your map indicates when the star is passing directly overhead. Subtract half an hour per week after the date indicated or add half an hour per week for dates beforehand.

Alternatively you can book a guided viewing with one of our professional astronomers for $60.

If you need help, call us at Sydney Observatory on (02) 9217 0111.


*The Sydney Southern Star Catalogue was compiled by Sydney Observatory during its time as a research facility and published in 1983. It was observed, measured and catalogued at Sydney Observatory.

Sydney Observatory’s Name A Star program does not offer international naming rights to the star. It is an official tax-deductible donations program run by astronomers, the income from which goes towards the Observatory’s collection, heritage and programs.