Last update at 26 · 09 · by milo

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The Fomalhaut b planet was one of those selected by the International Astronomical Union as part of their public process for giving proper names to exoplanets.

The process involved public nomination and voting for the new name. In December 2015, the IAU announced the winning name was Dagon. The name Dagon was proposed by Dr. Todd Vaccaro and forwarded by the St. Cloud State University Planetarium to the IAU for consideration. Dagon was a Semitic deity, often represented as half-man, half-fish.

The nature of Fomalhaut b was at first unclear. It was thought it could be a conglomeration of rubble from a recent collision between comet-to-asteroid-sized bodies, and not actually a planet.

Although this scenario is possible, the likelihood of observing such a collision at the location of Fomalhaut b is extremely low. Instead, Fomalhaut b is plausibly, even probably, a planet less than twice Jupiter’s mass that is either enshrouded in a spherical cloud of dust from ongoing planetesimal collisions or surrounded by a large circumplanetary ring system, either of which are responsible for scattering the primary star’s light and thus making Fomalhaut b visible.

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