Have you ever looked up at the night sky and thought about buying your very own bright star? Naming a star for someone or after yourself may seem like a charming idea. But before you choose a celestial body to call your own, it helps to know – how much does it cost to buy and name a star?
In this article, we’ll break down the average prices, what naming a star means, additional costs, and what the process involves so you can decide if it fits your budget.
Key Takeaways on Naming a Star
- Naming a star costs $30-$100 on average
- The name is recorded in private commercial registries only
- Additional costs add up for shipping, framing, etc.
- Locating your star is possible with the provided maps
- No legal ownership, but a fun symbolic gesture
- Makes for thoughtful gifts if you appreciate the spirit
How Much Does It Cost To Buy A Star?
The cost of buying a star at most major star naming companies is between $30-$100 for a single star, with packages including printed certificates listing the star name and coordinates.
Here are the average costs broken down:
- Basic star naming: $30-$40
- Physical certificate: $5-$15
- Virtual eCertificate: $0
- Entry in registry database: $0
- Star map: $5-$20
- Priority processing: $10-$20
So at minimum, you’re looking at a $30-$40 basic cost just to have a star name recorded. Additional physical products and faster processing increase the total price.
What Extras Are Offered?
Beyond the basic entry, here are some popular add-ons when buying a star naming package:
- Framed certificate – $30-$75
- Custom star map – $15-$40
- Mobile app – $5-$10
- Gift box – $10-$30
- Multiple star names – $15-$30 each
- Binary star pair – $50-$100
- Priority naming – $10-$20
Remember, these extras are purely for fun and have no astronomical significance. But gift boxes, framing, and double stars make for more dramatic and sentimental presentations.
On Starregister.org, the cost of naming a star varies depending on the package and additional features you choose. The Supernova Star Package, which includes the brightest and rarest stars in the universe, costs $7,900.
What Does It Mean to Name a Star?
When you “name a star,” companies provide a certificate letting you assign a name to one of the many unnamed stars visible from Earth. You don’t literally buy ownership rights to the star itself but rather pay for the privilege of naming it.
Registries like the International Star Registry and Online Star Register maintain private databases of star names. When you pay to name a star, they’ll record it in their catalog and provide a printout certificate.
However, the chosen name of the star is not officially recognized by any astronomical organization. It’s more for sentimental value than anything scientific.
How Does the Naming Process Work?
Here are the general steps to name a star with most companies:
- Browse star names and constellation options on the company’s website
- Select your desired star name (they can review for anything inappropriate)
- Choose any add-ons like framed certificate or gift box
- Complete payment online to register the name
- The company records your star’s name in their private catalog
- Within 1-3 business days, they mail your certificate and associated products
- Enjoy knowing your star’s name is recorded, even if not scientifically official
The process is designed to be quick and convenient. Many offer instant digital certificates as well.
Are There Any Additional Costs to Consider?
Beyond the initial registration fee, some other costs associated with naming a star to note:
- Shipping fees if going for a physical product package
- Sales tax depending on location
- Framing if you get a printed certificate
- Renewal fees to maintain the registration over decades
- Multiple star names if gifting or getting a binary star
So factor in another $20 or so for taxes, basic shipping, and framing a certificate on average. Not a huge added cost, but this helps you budget accurately.
Is Naming a Star Legally Binding?
While naming a star through these services is fun, it has no legal authority in the astronomical community. The International Astronomical Union is responsible for officially naming and cataloging celestial objects.
No government body recognizes the names sold by private star naming companies. They maintain their own internal registries, while the IAU has the definitive star name catalog science recognizes.
But the star names still make thoughtful gifts to celebrate loved ones in a more symbolic sense. Just know it’s not legally official.
How Do You Locate and View Your Named Star?
Part of the appeal of naming a star is being able to find it in the actual night sky. Here are some ways to observe your named star:
- Use provided star map or star chart showing the exact location and coordinates of your star in the sky
- Download the free mobile app to identify named stars overhead
- Enter the star’s details into an online astronomy program like Stellarium
- Locate the star’s constellation, then use coordinates to pinpoint
- Use binoculars or a telescope to view it up close from your location
While you can’t travel to physically visit, it’s fun to watch “your” star periodically using maps and observation aids.
Should You Gift a Star Name to a Loved One?
Naming a star makes for a thoughtful and unique gift in many situations:
- Holiday gifts
- New baby
- Memorial of deceased
It provides a sentimental way to honor someone important to you. The custom star name and registry certificate add a personal touch of celestiation.
Is Naming a Star Worth the Cost?
Ultimately, only you can decide if designating a celestial name is worth the $30-$100 price tag. It’s not astronomical in cost, but still an investment.
Before buying, reflect on what naming a distant star truly means to you or your gift recipient. If the symbolic sentiment is there, the expense can absolutely be justified.
While not an official scientific process, naming a star can still hold great significance. And checking in on your star on a clear night creates an ongoing connection.