Star-Naming Services FAQs

Answers to All Your Name a Star Questions

How are stars named?

In ancient times, stars that were visible to the naked eye were named in different languages by people from far-reaching parts of the world. All cultures created magical stories about the stars, and they were connected by their fascination for the night sky.

With the aid of the telescope, many more stars are now known, and even more are being discovered each day. These new stars are surveyed and located very precisely. Then they are given official identification numbers that are published in several astrophysical catalogs for astronomers, professional and amateur, world-wide. The International Astronomical Union names newly discovered celestial bodies such as comets and asteroids. The brightest stars have names, but most stars are merely listed in astrophysical catalogs by number. This number makes it easier to locate the star in the sky. Scientists would never be able to find “Aunt Martha’s Star.”

Name a Star offers a way for non-astronomers to show their love and respect to others by assigning the names of loved ones to stars – stars that are otherwise listed as numbers in Astrophysical Observatory Catalogs. We add your star names in the Record Book, which is listed with the United States Copyright Office. The Name a Star™ Record Book is updated and published periodically.

Is my star name authentic?

Name a Star does not claim to be the official star naming agency. Only the International Astronomical Union has the right to officially name celestial objects, such as comets and asteroids. It uses numbers to locate and identify stars in the sky for scientific purposes.

Name a Star offers a way for non-astronomers to show their love and respect to others by assigning the names of loved ones to stars – stars that are otherwise only listed as numbers in Astrophysical Observatory Catalogs. We add your star names in the Record Book, which is listed with the United States Copyright Office. The Name a Star™ Record Book is updated and published periodically.

It’s unlikely that scientists will ever use our catalog, or that of any other star-naming company that uses names instead of numbers. Astronomers will continue to use the various star numbering systems approved by the scientific community instead, including the Smithsonian catalog (our reference), the Messier catalog, the Hubble Space Telescope catalog, and others.

Name a Star uses the Smithsonian astrophysical catalog when assigning names to stars. Another star naming company could name the same physical star if they reference a different catalog using a different number. When Name a Star began in 1978, this wasn’t an issue because we were the only company in the business of naming stars.

This star name is a gift item, not a scientific designation – it is most meaningful to those who give and receive it. With Name a Star, it’s the idea that counts… and the joy that comes from naming a star after someone and giving a little piece of heaven.

How do you select a star, and can I see it?

Some constellations are visible during certain seasons, while some are visible all year round. We do allow you to specify a constellation. Simply place your order online and indicate your preferred constellation on the order form. If you don’t choose a particular constellation, we will choose a star that is visible from your location at the time of year in which you place your order.

We choose stars based on their magnitude, which is determined by the brightness and proximity to the earth; closer equals more bright and visible. The lower the magnitude, the brighter and more visible the star. Strange, but true – lower magnitude stars are actually brighter!

Name a Star uses the Smithsonian Catalogs of stars that have magnitudes of 10 or less. If you live in an area with low level light pollution, you should be able to view the star with a simple pair of binoculars or the naked eye. If the city or area you live in has more light pollution, you might need a small telescope.

Can I choose my own star?

You can request a constellation when buying a star name. Simply indicate the constellation in the Notes section of the online order form. We will do our best to find a star for you in that constellation.

How much does it cost to buy a star name?

That depends on the package you order. Name a Star offers three Star Portfolio Packages:

Please see our Packages and Prices page for more information.

What does my Name a Star Package include?

That depends on which package you order:

Please see our Packages and Prices page for more information.

Are your forms secure?

How are Name a Star™ Packages shipped, and how soon will I get them?

Holiday shipping deadlines.

Name a Star ships your packages via UPS 2nd Day, Next Day, or Worldwide Express, as well as USPS Priority Mail. Please see our Shipping Information page for more information.

Remember – Most shippers do NOT consider weekends and holidays “business” days. Here are some additional shipping tips:

  • UPS requires 2 UPS BUSINESS DAYS to deliver your package IF you select UPS NEXT DAY AIR. Orders RECEIVED BEFORE 10:00 AM Pacific Time on a UPS BUSINESS DAY should arrive the next UPS BUSINESS DAY.
  • Please note that UPS does NOT offer Saturday Delivery to some addresses! UPS does not ship to P.O. Boxes.
  • United States Postal service requires 3 TO 7 UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE BUSINESS DAYS to deliver your package if you select USPS Priority Mail.
  • USPS Priority Mail is available ONLY to the 48 US Continental States. We will not refund shipping costs on Priority Mail deliveries.
  • The US Postal Service does NOT guarantee delivery time. We ship to APO and FPO addresses by Postal Priority Mail and can not guarantee next day delivery.
  • Orders to NON US destinations, APO and FPO addresses will take longer to arrive.
  • Weekends and holidays are NOT normal business days!
  • We are not responsible for orders delayed due to weather conditions, labor strikes, unrest or carrier failure.
  • When placing your order, we suggest you give us a business address to ship to for a more timely delivery.
  • If you order more than one package, we will manually adjust the shipping charges and issue a credit for the difference when we see multiple orders all going to the same “ship to” address with the same name. The order processing system will not show the adjustment online.
  • We can normally ship up to three NON framed orders in a single UPS Letter Envelope, so the shipping charges for up to three orders should be the same as for one order.
  • Shipping charges for orders containing FRAMED certificates are good for only ONE FRAMED Certificate. Each additional FRAMED certificate will add approximately $5.00 to the shipping charges.

For more information on shipping charges, please contact Name a Star or see our Shipping Information page.

Name a Star reserves the right to use an alternative shipping method that is less expensive then the method designated at the time the order is placed. We will notify customers if we feel a different shipping method is required, and we will adjust the charges on their card.

If you are an overseas customer and UPS returns a price over $35, we will ship your order via United States Postal Service Global Express Mail, which is much cheaper, and then credit your card for the difference (unless you specify otherwise in the order notes).

How much does shipping cost?

See the shipping costs on our Shipping Information Page!

What are my payment options?

You can pay by credit card, money order, or ATM, Debit or Check Card. Debit, ATM and Check Cards must have Visa or Master Card logos to be used online. When using these payment options, you are authorizing Name a Star to do a one-time charge against your credit card or checking account without your signature, as provided for under the mail-order regulations established by the Uniform Commercial Codes.

Select your preferred Payment Method on our Secure Online Order Form.

Credit Cards

We accept Credit, Diners Club, ATM, Debit and Check Cards online, by phone, fax and secure e-mail with the following logos on them: American Express, Discover/Novus, MasterCard and Visa. We do not make the final decision whether to accept or decline any credit card. We simply collect the card information and present it to your card issuer for approval.

ATM, Debit or Check Cards

You can use your Debit or Check Card if it has a Visa or Master Card logo. For online transactions, it works like a credit card.

Money Orders

Money Orders must be drawn on a US financial institution for US funds and made payable to Name a Star. Packages are processed and shipped as soon as the money order arrives in the mail.

Do you have a guarantee?

Your satisfaction is guaranteed. If you are not thoroughly satisfied, please return the Package for a refund of the purchase price, less shipping.

What is a Memorial Star?

We offer a special Name a Star™ Package as a Memorial to your loved ones. A Memorial Star is for someone who has passed away. We send a different letter with the portfolio and the star is placed in a constellation that is visible all year round. A Memorial Star is an extraordinarily powerful gift. The star’s continued presence in the Polar Sky helps keep memories alive with a simple upward glance on a starry night.

Do you have any affiliate companies that also register star names?

Yes we do but please be aware other star registration companies alos use our trademark name in their web site copy and advertising campaigns. Please don’t confuse Name a Star with other star registration services. We truly are The Original Star Naming Service Since 1978®.

What if I made a mistake on my order when I buy a star name?

Don’t panic! It happens. If you catch the mistake when you read the confirmation e-mail or some time before the item is shipped, simply reply to us by 9 a.m. the day after ordering. We’ll be glad to change your order. If you find a misprint on an order you’ve already received, call us toll-free at 1.877.626.1597 in the US or 1.541.383.8187 outside the US. We’ll reprint the package at no cost. If you made the error, we will only charge the shipping fee. If the mistake was ours, we’ll also pay for shipping.

How do I get the free Astronomy Software?

The great people at Google have developed free astronomy software that you can download to your own computer. Once the download is complete click on the Sky view button on the toolbar or go to the view menu and click “switch to sky”.  You can then use the celestial address from your Name a Star Certificate or your star charts and the program will take you to a view of your star! Click here to go to the Google Earth website.  Google Earth is not affiliated with Name a Star and provides their own support for this website.

What is a PDF file?

A Portable Document Format (pdf) file is a self-contained cross-platform document. In plain language, it is a file that will look the same on the screen and in print, regardless of what kind of computer or printer someone is using and regardless of what software package was originally used to create it.

Although they contain the complete formatting of the original document, including fonts and images, PDF files are highly compressed, allowing complex information to be downloaded efficiently.

Once PDF reader software is properly installed, you just need to click on a link to a .pdf file and it will be loaded for viewing on your computer. Note that the file is sent to your computer as a temporary file that will be deleted when you exit your browser.

Click here to download the free Adobe® Reader® from the Adobe® Web Site. Click here to download the free PDF Reader from

OR search Google for “free PDF reader” and select your own PDF reader.