Earlier this year, the University of Arizona discovered a new planet. The people who located the planet christened with the catchy title of HD 106906 b. As lyrical as that name is, some people have decided another title would be more appropriate, given the timing of the discovery. A Doctor Who fan from Melbourne, Australia named Sam Menhennet decided to propose a name for HD 106906 b that would honor the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who, an event that was marked worldwide a few weeks ago. Menhennet is leading the charge to name the planet Gallifrey, after the home planet of the Doctor himself. He had this to say on the subject:
I really want this planet to be named Gallifrey. Even if it just an honorary name, or a nickname, there really needs to be a Gallifrey out there in the universe. Doctor Who is legendary, award winning, record breaking, and global, and this planet deserves something special and supernatural as its name, How better to honor its existence than by dubbing it the home planet of our beloved time travelling alien, The Doctor? Years from now, when I have grandchildren, and I tell them about my favorite show growing up, I want to tell them that we found the planet that The Doctor was from. Do it for the fandom! Please share! and get evreyone whovian [sic] to sign this petition!
You read right. This ambitious young man made a petition hoping it would help get the planet’s name changed. As of now the petition has gotten 100,265 supporters and Menhennet seeks 49,735 more for a total of 150,000.
HD 106906 b is a gas giant that orbits around HD 106906. It is estimated to be around eleven times the mass of Jupiter. The reason this planet has garnered so much attention is because it has the farthest ever orbit. It is an astronomical 650 AU from its host star. This is much greater then what was formerly believed to be the possible distance between a planet and its host star thanks to nebular theory.
HD 106906 b came at a special time. Earlier this year we saw the Doctor save Gallifrey from the time war and suspend it in a moment of time – lost. Perhaps we have found it? It would certainly explain the distance!
If you are interested in naming this amazing planet Gallifrey then you can do so at Change.org.
Do you think Gallifrey is a worthy name for this planet? If you’re not a Whovian, what name would you give the planet? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!