An interesting experience with the International Star Registry while doing a nice thing for my family

24 Jan

I have a certain aspect of my personality that wakes up at the opportunity to doing fun and rewarding for my family. So, when I saw the International Start Registry Living Social offer I bought four…one for me, my wife and two for my boys. A cool Xmas gift.


It was advertised as follows.

Catch the twinkle in their eyes as they look to the skies with this deal from the International Star Registry: Give the gift of a personalized star for $20 (a $65 value). Lucky recipients can join the ranks of celebrities, dignitaries, and even royalty who have their own celestial sparklers.

  • Each star comes with a 16″ x 12″ full-color parchment certificate, personalized with the star’s name, date, and coordinates
  • Create a cluster of stars for the whole family in the same constellation, or make personalized corporate gifts
  • Identification is easy with a custom 16″ x 12″ sky chart that features the star’s name, date, constellation, and location circled in red
  • A booklet on astronomy written by a professional astronomer includes additional sky charts
  • Celebrate the moment with a letter of congratulations/memorial for the recipient
  • The new star name will be published in book form for registration in the US Copyright Office

Based on what I see 31,157 were purchased

numberI chose to put our stars all close to Perseus so that we could be clustered as a family. And here we all are…slices of our own individual star maps overlaid for comparison.


On each section I have marked our individual stars. There are large stars and small stars then the ones flagged as ours. So here is my question….why do we not see each others stars on each others maps? Are these stars actually fictitious and simply inserted on the star map for effect?

A quick search online and I found this….

“The outfits that “sell” the right to name a star are out and out frauds.  The fact that there are several “selling” these rights should tell you something.  They don’t coordinate with one another, so two companies could sell the same star.”

WONDERFUL! I am scientist and got caught up with the fun for my family, allowed myself to be scammed as did 31,000 other people…There are days when I am a fool….shame on me, shame on LivingSocial and shame on the International Star Registry. HAH!


About tony

Antony (Tony) J. Williams received his BSc in 1985 from the University of Liverpool (UK) and PhD in 1988 from the University of London (UK). His PhD research interests were in studying the effects of high pressure on molecular motions within lubricant related systems using Nuclear Magnetic Resonance. He moved to Ottawa, Canada to work for the National Research Council performing fundamental research on the electron paramagnetic resonance of radicals trapped in single crystals. Following his postdoctoral position he became the NMR Facility Manager for Ottawa University. Tony joined the Eastman Kodak Company in Rochester, New York as their NMR Technology Leader. He led the laboratory to develop quality control across multiple spectroscopy labs and helped establish walk-up laboratories providing NMR, LC-MS and other forms of spectroscopy to hundreds of chemists across multiple sites. This included the delivery of spectroscopic data to the desktop, automated processing and his initial interests in computer-assisted structure elucidation (CASE) systems. He also worked with a team to develop the worlds’ first web-based LIMS system, WIMS, capable of allowing chemical structure searching and spectral display. With his developing cheminformatic skills and passion for data management he left corporate America to join a small start-up company working out of Toronto, Canada. He joined ACD/Labs as their NMR Product Manager and various roles, including Chief Science Officer, during his 10 years with the company. His responsibilities included managing over 50 products at one time prior to developing a product management team, managing sales, marketing, technical support and technical services. ACD/Labs was one of Canada’s Fast 50 Tech Companies, and Forbes Fast 500 companies in 2001. His primary passions during his tenure with ACD/Labs was the continued adoption of web-based technologies and developing automated structure verification and elucidation platforms. While at ACD/Labs he suggested the possibility of developing a public resource for chemists attempting to integrate internet available chemical data. He finally pursued this vision with some close friends as a hobby project in the evenings and the result was the ChemSpider database ( Even while running out of a basement on hand built servers the website developed a large community following that eventually culminated in the acquisition of the website by the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) based in Cambridge, United Kingdom. Tony joined the organization, together with some of the other ChemSpider team, and became their Vice President of Strategic Development. At RSC he continued to develop cheminformatics tools, specifically ChemSpider, and was the technical lead for the chemistry aspects of the Open PHACTS project (, a project focused on the delivery of open data, open source and open systems to support the pharmaceutical sciences. He was also the technical lead for the UK National Chemical Database Service ( and the RSC lead for the PharmaSea project ( attempting to identify novel natural products from the ocean. He left RSC in 2015 to become a Computational Chemist in the National Center of Computational Toxicology at the Environmental Protection Agency where he is bringing his skills to bear working with a team on the delivery of a new software architecture for the management and delivery of data, algorithms and visualization tools. The “Chemistry Dashboard” was released on April 1st, no fooling, at, and provides access to over 700,000 chemicals, experimental and predicted properties and a developing link network to support the environmental sciences. Tony remains passionate about computer-assisted structure elucidation and verification approaches and continues to publish in this area. He is also passionate about teaching scientists to benefit from the developing array of social networking tools for scientists and is known as the ChemConnector on the networks. Over the years he has had adjunct roles at a number of institutions and presently enjoys working with scientists at both UNC Chapel Hill and NC State University. He is widely published with over 200 papers and book chapters and was the recipient of the Jim Gray Award for eScience in 2012. In 2016 he was awarded the North Carolina ACS Distinguished Speaker Award.

Posted by on January 24, 2013 in Uncategorized


13 Responses to An interesting experience with the International Star Registry while doing a nice thing for my family

  1. Steve Koch

    January 25, 2013 at 11:04 am

    You can easily remedy the situation by going outside and picking your favorite stars yourselves and then using Google sky map to find out what they are, and Wikipedia to learn about them. I picked a star in Orion for my fiance and me. It turned out to be a binary star, awwwwwwww 🙂

  2. Joe Kraus

    January 25, 2013 at 1:01 pm

    The ISR is not recognized by any professional astronomical associations. Lots of people get duped during the Holiday season, too. You paid for a piece of paper in the form of a certificate. But, I am sure your family appreciates the gesture.

  3. davesnyd

    January 27, 2013 at 4:19 pm

    How, exactly, were you scammed?

    You received your certificate and skychart and booklet.

    More importantly, you had– and used– the opportunity to start a discussion with the kids about astronomy.

    You didn’t really think that you somehow had perpetual mining rights to minerals on planets of those stars, did you?

    Of course these stars aren’t really named after you or Sharon or the boys in any formal astronomical sense– but you didn’t really believe that they were, did you?

    I’m not advocating for these outfits but what they’re really providing is conversation fodder. And they seem to have given you plenty of that for your money.

    • tony

      January 27, 2013 at 9:58 pm

      You’re missing the point Dave…not having stars actually named after us is fine. BUT, creating stars on maps out of thin air, and not even making sure they are on the same family maps…well that was a scam. Tyler spotted it and said “Why isn’t my star next to yours and moms….your star isn’t on my map!” That wasn’t right.

  4. Stargazer

    January 28, 2013 at 2:38 pm

    I’m fairly certain that each constellation or partial constellation on your skycharts are templates of the major (brightest) stars in that area. If EVERY star were to be charted on the skymap finding the location of your star would be pointless since in any given square inch of your chart would yield thousands of stars and/or galaxies. This would make it nearly impossible to decipher YOUR star’s location within the constellation if there were even hundreds of stars represented. The same thing can be represented by looking at online maps – the smaller streets aren’t displayed until you zoom way in but if you were to begin zoomed way in you’d have no idea where you were looking.

    • tony

      January 28, 2013 at 9:59 pm

      If that’s true and the stars actually exist then it would be beneficial to improve the service and ask the question whether or not you are building a “star series” and whether or not you would like to include the cluster on a series of maps. This should not be difficult to add as new functionality really and would be advantageous for these types of situations…

  5. Stargazer

    January 28, 2013 at 5:01 pm

    Just by curiosity I went to a real sky chart website ( to see if I could find the exact location of those. They should be very close and can be more accurate if you know the coordinates.
    Tony = hd29456
    Taylor = hd29882
    Tyler = hd29934
    Sharon = hd27795

    Here is my chart I came up with:

    • tony

      January 28, 2013 at 10:02 pm

      That’s very cool! Thanks for doing the work….so your conclusion is that the star maps ARE in fact accurate and each simply SHOWS the individual star that is in that position? If so its a great conclusion to the story…and I am willing to admit I am wrong!

  6. Stargazer

    January 28, 2013 at 5:02 pm

  7. Caren

    April 25, 2016 at 12:58 am

    The Name a Star Website is so deceiving. Before you name and pick your star you give them all your credit card info then when I try to pick the date of my grandsons death they keep changing the date on the preview of the certificate. If they don’t cancel my order I will take it all the way to the BBB and will cancel this with my bank.

  8. Don Devereau

    October 25, 2016 at 9:41 am

    The way to approach any “Name A Star” item is to view it as a vessel to express your emotions, appreciation, affection. It’s a replacement for the same old card, flowers, chocolate. It’s important to let any potential customer know what this gift is…and what it is not. Look for a company that is honest and has a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) area where your questions are answered BEFORE you purchase. Starview Name A Star does that….many others do not.

  9. David

    May 9, 2017 at 11:46 am

    They are meant to be a gift. Period. But I do agree if you “buy” a set of them then those should show the others to have more significant meaning. Then again as someone stated, if they showed all starts it everything would be stars, stars everywhere. The depth and distance the star is to your point of view determines which stars are shown around it. Not all can be shown. Have you made an attempt to reach out to them in hope they can correct this for you?


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