International Space Agencies – Missions and Discoveries

Bhibha Constellation and Santamasa Planet


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Bhibha , Santamasa

Mains level : Not Much

A white yellow star in Sextans constellation and its Jupiter-like exoplanets, which were hitherto named HD 86081 and 86081b, will now have Indian names, a/c to International Astronomical Union (IAU).


  • The star has been named in honour of a pioneering Indian woman scientist Bibha Choudhury, who discovered subatomic particle, pi-meson.
  • ‘Bhibha’ also means “a bright beam of light” in Bengali.
  • It is located in the constellation of Sextans. It is as hot as the sun, with a surface temperature of about 6,000 degrees Kelvin. It is 1.55 times bigger, 1.21 times massive, and 1.75 times brighter.
  • It is so far away that light from it takes 310.93 years to reach Earth and hence it is visible only with a telescope.


  • The planet has been named S’antamasa’ to reflect the cloudy nature of its atmosphere. ‘Santamasa’ is the Sanskrit term for ‘clouded’.
  • ‘Santamasa’, which is its only planet, is estimated to have a mass of 1.5 times that of Jupiter, going around the central star in a nearly circular orbit just in 2.1375 days.
  • Revolving so near the host star, the planet is expected to be very hot.


International Astronomical Union (IAU)

  • The IAU is an international association of professional astronomers, at the PhD level and beyond, active in professional research and education in astronomy.
  • Among other activities, it acts as the internationally recognized authority for assigning designations and names to celestial bodies (stars, planets, asteroids, etc.) and any surface features on them.
  • To standardize planetary nomenclature, the IAU was assigned in 1919 the task of selecting official names for features on Solar System bodies.
  • Planetary nomenclature, like terrestrial nomenclature, is a system of uniquely identifying features on the surface of a planet or natural satellite so that the features can be easily located, described, and discussed.
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