Link your name with a star in the southern skies! The Name A Star program links a name with a star in the Sydney Southern Star Catalogue (SSSC). Your donation helps fund the heritage and collection program at Sydney Observatory, a non-profit organisation, part of MAAS. This means that your individual Name A Star gift is fully tax-deductible.
The SSSC was compiled by Sydney Observatory during its time as a research facility and published in 1983. All available stars can be viewed through the telescopes at Sydney Observatory and from anywhere in Australia or the Southern Hemisphere. Your chosen name for the star in our catalogue is kept in the Observatory’s records.
If you are unable to complete the online form, you can print a form for individuals or corporations and 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?
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
Add an Optional Star Viewing: Also available and highly recommended, is a night viewing pass to Sydney Observatory for up to four people to view the SSSC star you’ve named through our telescopes.
The following charges apply to the Name a Star program.
Optional Viewing Pass for 4 $50
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.
If you need help, call us at Sydney Observatory on (02) 9217 0111.
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. The Name A Star program does offer naming rights in the Sydney Southern Star Catalogue (SSSC) which was observed, photographed, measured and catalogued at Sydney Observatory.