An artist's impression of a Jupiter twin orbiting a distant star. Image: ESO/L. Benassi

The International Astronomical Union (IAU) — the body responsible for assigning official names to cosmic objects discovered by humanity — wants people around the world to help name planets and stars far away from our own solar system.

Why it matters: The IAU initiative can help democratize what’s usually an opaque naming process. "Each nation's designated star is visible from that country, and sufficiently bright to be observed through small telescopes," the IAU wrote in a news release.

Details: So far, nearly 100 countries have signed up to take part in the naming program, and more can still join until July 30.

  • The IAU wants each country to organize a national campaign for the naming, where citizens can participate by offering suggestions for what the exoplanets and stars should be called.
  • Each country's national committee will ask the public to vote on a few names. The winner will then be submitted to the IAU.
  • The IAU will announce the newly chosen names in December.

Go deeper: Find out if your country is participating in the program and what star and planet it has been assigned here.

Go deeper

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Protesters outside Supreme Court. Photo: Daniel Slim/AFP via Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Monday denied a request from Pennsylvania's Republican Party to shorten the deadlines for mail-in ballots in the state. Thanks to the court's 4-4 deadlock, ballots can be counted for several days after Election Day.

Why it matters: It's a major win for Democrats that could decide the fate of thousands of ballots in a crucial swing state that President Trump won in 2016. The court's decision may signal how it would deal with similar election-related litigation in other states.

Microphones will be muted during parts of Thursday's presidential debate

Photos: Jim Watson and Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The Commission on Presidential Debates adopted new rules on Monday to mute microphones to allow President Trump and Joe Biden two minutes of uninterrupted time per segment during Thursday night's debate, AP reports.

Why it matters: In the September debate, Trump interrupted Biden 71 times, compared with Biden's 22 interruptions of Trump.

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Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Politics: Trump says if Biden's elected, "he'll listen to the scientists"Trump calls Fauci a "disaster" on campaign call.
  2. Health: Coronavirus hospitalizations are on the rise — 8 states set single-day coronavirus case records last week.
  3. States: Wisconsin judge reimposes capacity limit on indoor venues.
  4. Media: Trump attacks CNN as "dumb b*stards" for continuing to cover pandemic.
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