"Dutch" exoplanet and star to be named after Rembrandt, Van Gogh paintings

An artistic impression of HAT-P-6b with its star HAT-P-6
An artistic impression of HAT-P-6b with its star HAT-P-6Photo: Livia Pietrow/Wikimedia Commons

The exoplanet that the Dutch population was asked to name will be called Night Watch, after the painting by Dutch grandmaster Rembrandt van Rijn. The star Night Watch revolves around will be called Starry Night, after the Vincent van Gogh masterpiece, the International Astronomical Union announced on Tuesday.

Night Watch and Starry Night were not the most popular names among the possible choices. The most votes went to Nijntje for the planet and Moederpluis for the star. But these names had to be disqualified because the rabbit family from the Dick Bruna books is protected by active intellectual property law. Night Watch and Starry Night got the second most of the over 13,500 votes.

The IAU handed out planets and stars to multiple countries to name in October, to celebrate the union's 100th year of existence. The "Dutch" exoplanet and star, with the scientific names HAT-P-6 b and HAT-P-6 respectively, are located 905 light years from our solar system. Starry Night is a dwarf star with a yellow-white color, and Night Watch is a large gas planet that revolves close to the star.