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On buying stars and naming them after you

Can you actually buy a star and have it named after you?

Apparently not, according to experts, but in the name of love, a couple went out of their way to make it happen—at least metaphorically.

A post went viral on Twitter Monday when a girl apparently received a star that was “named” after her as a gift from her boyfriend.

On a pinned tweet, Hannah Grazhel Chiong expressed her gratitude to her boyfriend Ronnie Sta. Teresa after the latter surprised her with a framed map of the star that was named “Grazhel.” According to the post, it was “officially listed in the International Star Directory” on June 3, 2017.

“This star will always shine for you and will lead the way to my heart,” the star dedication says.



Sta. Teresa’s gesture was reminiscent of the classic 2002 chick-flick “A Walk To Remember.”

In the scene, Landon Carter, played by Shane West, surprised Mandy Moore’s ill-stricken character Jamie Sullivan of a star named after her through the International Star Directory, a fictitious organization from the Nicholas Sparks’ classic work.

Netizens were head over heels with the romantic surprise and were quick to rave about it on social media. The post garnered 31,000 likes and 6,100 retweets on Twitter, and more than 10,000 likes and 15,000 shares on Facebook as of writing.







Can’t buy me, love?

The Philippine Astronomical Society (PAS), the country’s oldest astronomical organization, said that while it is truly a romantic endeavor that will send your head in the clouds, buying stars and naming it after anyone “officially” is not technically feasible.

“Despite numerous enterprises that ‘guarantee’ you a unique ball of gas with celestial coordinates to really seal the deal, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) is the only organization that legitimizes the names of celestial objects and no, you cannot ‘buy’ stars, nebulae, galaxies, etc.,” said PAS in its Facebook post.

The IAU is an international scientific organization founded in 1919. In its website, the IAU affirms that it “dissociates itself entirely” from the practice of bestowing a name to celestial bodies. “Accordingly, the IAU maintains no list of the (several competing) enterprises in these businesses in individual countries of the world,” it said. 

"I think a lot of people misunderstood my post," Chiong told GMA News Online. "I didn't expect that it would go viral. He didn't actually buy a star for me (it is impossible) haha. He named a star after me so that I could cross out one item off my bucket list. I'm not literally claiming the star—again, it is impossible".

The couple immediately posted a clarification, stating that are both aware of the technicalities in naming a star and asserted that the guy’s gesture was purely mimicry of the popular movie’s scene to make his girl feel special.

"While watching 'A Walk To Remember,' I thought naming a star for someone would be one of the sweetest things one could do," Sta. Teresa explained. "I'm not saying that I own that star. No one does. Not even the IAU. It's just a sweet gesture for her to cross an item off her bucket list."

In defense of her beau, Chiong said, "The thought that he wants to name a star after me while showing me the certificate... made me feel special. It's not the material things that matter, it's what you choose to do, it's the energy that drives you to go beyond, it's the effort, and he did a pretty good job at it. Whether the star is real or not, it doesn't matter, but I believe his love is real enough."



Though the gesture doesn't "officially"  count, everybody can agree: It was hella cute of Ronnie to "buy" his girlfriend a star. — LA, GMA News

Tags: stars