A star could be born of the Maltese islands very soon as the shortlist for names of an exoplanet and its star, has been published. The poll has landed, we can now reveal the 7 best pairs chosen by the Maltese public.
The planet might be 838 lightyears away from Earth, but these names aren’t.
With a majority of Maltese names to choose from, we really can make this a time to show our pride for our language and let it remain a part of history forever.
1. Calypso / Malita
Taking inspiration from the Gozitan cave said have housed Ulysses for several years after being detained by the nymph Calypso, the planet name could be the ultimate mashup of Maltese and Greek history. Malita was the OG name of the first Phoenician city, named after the sweet, sweet honey they found around the islands.
2. Ġgantija / Sansuna
Ġgantija is a word we all should be familiar with – the Maltese word for giantess and the name of Gozo’s own megalithic temples. Sansuna is said to have been the mythological giant that carried the stones of those temples to their resting place, on top of her head.
3. Gaudos / Malita
Gaudos is the old Latin word for Gozo and Malita, well, you know the drill.
4. Vassalli / De Soldanis
Mikiel Anton Vassalli, the father of the Maltese language. He was the first professor of the Maltese language at the University of Malta. Soldanis is derived from Canon Giovanni Pietro Francesco Agius de Soldanis, who was a Maltese linguist, historian and cleric hailing from our sister island, Gozo. He was known for writing the first lexicon and systematic grammar of the Maltese language and was the first librarian of the Bibliotheca Publica, the precursor to Malta’s National Library.
5. Vleġġa / Qaws
Vleġġa is Maltese for arrow, and funnily enough this planet lies within Saggita (a constellation not to be confused with Saggitarius) whose name also derives from arrow. Qaws is the Maltese word for bow. Get it – Bow and Arrow?
6. Wenzu / Rożi
7. Żerniq / Għabex
Żerniq is the Maltese word for dawn, the time of day that sees the run rise above the skies. In contrast, għabex is the Maltese word for dusk, when the sun creeps back down behind the sea.
All in all, we’ve got a pretty neat spread to choose from.
Personally, though, we’d rather have had a Dnegel and Twanny pairing if not at least for the national holiday we’d have been granted in honour of donuts, for the hilarious memes we’d have been gifted by the internet.
View the shortlist and cast your vote here.