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Is It Really Possible to Buy a Star?

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  • Written By: Garry Crystal
  • Edited By: Niki Foster
  • Last Modified Date: 01 November 2016
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When it comes to Valentine's Day or birthdays, there is a gift than reaches heights no other gift can, literally. That is to buy a star for your partner or loved one. In effect, when you buy a star, you do not actually own the star. You have no legal right to it and cannot claim that the star is yours.

If you type the words, “buy a star” into an Internet search engine, you will find many websites that will do this service for you, for a price. For approximately 50 to 80 US dollars (USD), you will receive a certificate with the location of your star. It will tell you that this particular star has been named after you, but this should not be taken too seriously. Official astronomical departments will not validate or recognize your star's name.

When you buy a star, the chosen star name will be registered and copyrighted in a listing of all star names. When you really can't think of the perfect gift for a loved one, buying a star may seem like the ultimate declaration of love, but it should not be taken too seriously as a purchase. Most of the websites that sell stars do not have a license to name stars, but that doesn’t stop them from selling them.

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With a trillion stars in the sky, selling stars may seem like the ideal way to make money. There has been some controversy over the buy a star market. The International Astronomical Union is the only scientific body that is able to actually name stars. If you type your name into an astronomy star site, your star will not come up.

The buy a star vendors claim that it is a fun product that educates people about astronomy. However, a lot of people believe that when they buy a star they actually own that star and it is officially named after the chosen person. There have been cases of people sued in court for publishing claims that selling stars is a fraudulent practice.

If you like the idea of being able to “kind of” buy a star, then this is the ideal gift. It is a very romantic and unusual gift and will last a lifetime. Just don’t expect it to have a very high turnaround value when you try and sell it.

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FitzMaurice
Post 3

There are so many stars in the sky that it is unlikely that anyone will ever even notice your personal star. Still a fun idea though, despite being completely kitsch.

anon3908
Post 1

'Buy A Star' may be a nice thing, but it is fraud, according to officials. Some companies have sued for it, by law bodies, like the State of New York.

HOWEVER, there is this valid fun and it's free:

...go to the official NASA or other official space exploration sites, worldwide, and ask about including your name in things, and you will find charming and patriotic public outreach opportunities to participate with your name in capsules going to far places in the solar system and much more...just as romantic, but "bona fide"...valid and true.

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