Tajik state news agency reports planet named after Tajikistan

Tajik state news agency reports planet named after Tajikistan
President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon at the BRICS summit in Ufa, July 2015 (Image: Press Service of the Russian President under a CC licence)

1 September 2015

Tajik state news agency Khovar today reported that a planet has been named after Tajikistan.

At the ceremonial meeting to mark the Day of Knowledge holiday, it was announced that “one of the small planets of the solar system” had been named “Tajikistan” in recognition of the contributions made by Tajikistan’s scientists to astrophysics and the study of space. The recognition was conferred upon Tajikistan by an organisation called the International Astrophysicists Union, and a certificate confirming the naming of the planet was given to President Emomali Rahmon by the president of the Academy of Sciences, Farhod Rahimi.

During the ceremony it was highlighted that the planet Tajikistan is located between Mars and Jupiter, around 250 million kilometres from Earth, and 436 million kilometres from the Sun. The planet revolves around the Sun once every five years, which is the same length of time as the term of the country’s parliament.

However, an online search for the organisation that allegedly named the planet, the International Astrophysicists Union, yields no results. While a similarly named organisation, the International Astronomical Union, has an online presence, its website does not mention the planet Tajikistan. The uncertainty regarding the name-awarding body has aroused suspicions that the planet Tajikistan may be an invention, brought about to boost national pride.