FAQ

How long does it take to receive the gift?

Orders leave within two business days of us receiving them. Depending on the destination and the delivery option you have requested, it would take a further two (2) to six (6) days. If you have any concerns about delivery, please let us know when ordering. We can give you an estimated time of arrival for your gift package.

Canada Post will send you a tracking number for your parcel as soon as we are ready to ship it out, so you will be able to follow its progress as it makes its way to you (or to its destination).

Also please note that on the same day that we mail your star package out to you (or to the recipient), we will automatically send you a PDF file giving you a smaller version of the documents.  These can be printed on a regular printer using letter-sized paper, or shared electronically if that is suitable.  For last-minute purchases, these PDF files have saved the day many times over the years!

Can delivery be specified for a particular date?

Yes, it can, but there are risks involved. Anything from human error (ie the courier has a mechanical breakdown) to acts of god could cause a gift to miss the recipient on the specified day. We prefer to have the package there earlier with a "Do Not Open Until Specified Date" label attached. This generally heightens the anticipation and success of the gift, and gives all concerned peace of mind. This includes all of us here at the International Star Registry Canadian Office. Our mission is not complete until the person you have named a star for actually has the gift in their hands. We are not happy until you are.

What happens if I didn't leave enough time for delivery of the package?

We would be happy to send an email attachment that contains a PDF file showing smaller versions of the certificate and sky chart.  This file may be printed on regular letter-sized paper, so that you will have something tangible to present should you need to, while you are waiting for the official package to arrive.

Are the stars visible to the naked eye?

Only 2873 stars are visible to the naked eye. On a very dark night far away from the glare of city lights you may be able to see as many as 8000 stars but where most people live, in a city, you will be lucky to see 1000 stars. These 2873 stars are not available for naming because they already have scientific and historical names.

Since we have named more than two million stars worldwide over the past 35 years, hobbyist's telescopes will not be powerful enough for you to be able to see the star that we will name for you.  It is likely that you will need access to a telescope with an aperture of up to 12.5 inches, for stars of a magnitude of 14.

Where can I find out about which type of telescope to use or buy?

You would need a really powerful telescope to see the stars that we name nowadays - we have named more than two million over the past 35 years.  If you definitely want to buy and use your own telescope, may we suggest that you contact a good camera shop, or your local amateur astronomy group. If you tell them that you would like to view a star that is of magnitude 13 to 15, they will be able to help you. 

However, before embarking on a costly purchase, may we suggest that you do contact your local amateur astronomers' club: they often hold "open sky" nights where they are happy to show their gorgeous telescopes, and if you ask nicely enough, they should be happy to point a powerful telescope so that you may see the star that was named.

How many times are the stars named?

Each star is named once only and taken off the availability list.

Can I buy a star?

No. The stars named through ISR are not "owned", nor is their scientific identification altered. ISR enables individuals to name a real star for a person most appreciated by them. This astronomical listing is not scientific, but symbolic. The stars are recorded alphabetically rather than by size and location. The advantages of registering stars in this manner are of both personal and historical significance. Because the stars are listed according to the names assigned to each, centuries from now our descendants will be able to locate the names in the "Your Place in the Cosmos" series of hard cover astronomy books, look up the name and find the star in the night sky. And that is an amazing concept, isn't it?

What happens if my star falls out of the sky?

A falling or shooting star is actually a meteor. It is a piece of space dust or rock that burns up as it speeds through the earth's atmosphere. If the star that you have named should happen to disappear, and this came to our attention, we would most certainly name another star for you at our expense.

What happens if the name has been used before?

This works a little like a telephone book, where you might have a number of people listed who have the same name. You would be able to differentiate them by address and by telephone number. Similarly, you might have any number of stars named "Judy". When looking up the star named for your "Judy" in the relevant volume of "Your Pl ace in the Cosmos", you would seek the constellation and coordinates of the star named for that particular "Judy" (eg. Judy, Leo, RA 11h 38m D 28° 28'20"). This would be a unique set of information, and different from any other.

Can the name be for more than one person?

Yes. A star is often named for a couple, or even a family or group of people, as long as the name is within the 35 character limit (letters, numbers and spaces between the words counting as characters).

Can I have two or more stars next to each other?

Yes, if we are talking about being optically close as seen from the earth. The real distance could be light years apart. We keep records of all the star positions named through our office. In most cases it is possible to name another star or stars in close proximity according to the coordinates and position on the map.

Why must the date of registration be from the current or the following year?

We appreciate that the meaning of the gift is greatly enhanced by having a special day recorded on the certificate. The name given to the star is registered as of the date nominated by you. This could only be shortly before, on or after the day you applied. As the star was not named prior to your application, it would be deceptive and inaccurate to have a date from an earlier year. To illustrate this, take the example of someone who nominates 20 November 1950 as the date of registration, because the gift is for a birthday this year. The International Star Registry started to archive starnames in 1979, so the Registry did not exist at that time. Therefore, clearly, the star could not have been named from that day. The similar principle applies to dates after 1979, because, although the International Star Registry existed, the star was only named at the present time. A solution for those wishing to incorporate an earlier year is to include the desired date with the name eg. 'Star of Elvis Presley ~ 8.1.1935'. (The name must remain within the 35 characters limit - letters, numbers and spaces between the words counting as characters.)

Will a Starnaming that is dated forward be registered now or when the date comes up?

Naturally most gifts are ordered in advance. This way they are ready for presentation on the special day. So it is normal practice to complete the starnaming ahead of time. Registrations are forwarded to head office and processed on a monthly basis. This means that if you name a star for a special occasion six months in advance of the date, the star will already be registered by the time you present it on the special day.

Can the name of the star be changed once it has been registered?

Once the registration process has been completed, it is not possible to change any of the details. The name will be attached to the particular star and published in the next edition of the series of books, "Your Place in the Cosmos", registered with US Copyright Office in Washington DC. On the other hand, if a mistake has been made with one of the details before it has been registered, a new certificate can be issued. This would need to be brought to our attention immediately. They would generally cover errors with dates or the spelling of a name. If the error was on our part, then naturally there is no charge and a big apology. Errors in the details submitted to us will carry charges for the additional costs incurred in producing a new certificate of record and delivery.

What does the certificate say, exactly?

Know ye herewith that the International Star Registry doth hereby redesignate star number (star coordinates) to the name (name given to the star). Know ye further that this star will henceforth be known by this name. This name is permanently filed in the Registry’s vault in Switzerland and recorded in a book which will be registered in the copyright office of the United States of America.

In witness whereof we hereunto set our hands and affix the seal of the International Star Registry this (date).

P. McAdams, Secretary
E. Stolpe, Registrar


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