Having a star named after a loved one seems like the perfect gift, especially for people who seem to have everything.
What better gift than to immortalize that loved one with a star? And with the holidays approaching, many will do exactly that.
But beware, the star isnâ€™t really being christened with their names.
Only the International Astronomical Union can name stars. And that body doesnâ€™t let the public in on the process, according to Take Charge America, a non-profit consumer advocate group.
What youâ€™re paying for when you name a star is typically a plaque or certificate, not the actual star.
â€œThese types of services have been around for a while, but consumers still fall into the trap,â€ a recent Take Charge America press release on holiday scams said. â€œYou would be much better off making a gift or spending your money in another manner.â€
International Star Registry, probably the best known of the star namers, has named hundreds of thousands of stars for people since 1979, according to its website.
The cost is $54 plus $11 shipping.
So whatâ€™s shipped?
â€œA certificate, sky chart, the telescopic coordinates and a booklet on astronomy,â€ said the woman who answered my call to their toll free number this afternoon.
â€œIs it official?â€ I asked of the star naming.
â€œItâ€™s just registered with our registry,â€ she said, being truthful.
Indeed, at the bottom of their Web page, thereâ€™s a disclaimer:
â€œStar naming is not recognized by the scientific community. Your star name is reserved in International Star Registry records only.â€