With just one week to go until the solar eclipse on August 21, the countdown is officially on for astronomy buffs. A total eclipse doesn't come along very often -- according to NASA this is the first one visible from the continental U.S. in 38 years!
"The hair on the back of your neck is going to stand up, and you are going to feel different things as the eclipse reaches totality. It's been described as peaceful, spiritual, exhilarating, shocking," says Brian Carlstrom, of the National Park Service Natural Resource Stewardship and Science Directorate, clearly very excited about the upcoming eclipse.
It's no surprise, then, that many parents are making plans to witness this rare, spine-tingling event along with their kids. Here at BabyCenter, we're also looking to it for some celestial baby name inspiration. From more popular picks like Stella and Leo to slightly more obscure ones like Cressida and Juno, our site has been keeping an eye on these names inspired by stars and constellations, planets and their moons and more.
Here are some that definitely stand out...
Stella: A Greek name meaning "star," this is one of the most popular celestial picks.
Luna: This name meaning "moon" is a favorite among celebrities. Penelope Cruz, Ellen Pompeo, and Chrissy Teigen are all moms to little Lunas, which may help to explain its soaring popularity in recent years.
Aurora: She's more than just a Disney princess! Aurora, a lyrical Latin name meaning "dawn," sits in the top 100 names for girls on BabyCenter's annual ranking.
Venus: The second planet from the Sun, Venus shines bright in our sky just before dawn or after sunset, thus giving it two nicknames: the morning or the evening star. Whenever you glimpse it, this planet provides beautiful baby name inspiration.
Elara: One of Jupiter's many moons, Elara was named after the mother of Tityos, fathered by Zeus, in Greek mythology. If Elara isn't quite right, maybe one of Jupiter's other moons will strike a chord: Callisto, Europa, and Leda are a few interesting options.
Nova: A nova is a star that suddenly becomes extremely bright, then fades. It's also an absolutely gorgeous baby name. It seems a lot of parents think so: In 2010, the name sat way down at #1,130 on BabyCenter's list, but last year it reached #136.
Lyra: A personal favorite, this lovely name finds its astronomical roots in the small Lyra constellation, which can be found in the northern sky.
Leia: Any Star Wars fans out there? A fun take on the space theme, this name is of course an ode to Princess Leia, portrayed by the late Carrie Fisher.
Vega: Landing at #4,171 on BabyCenter's baby name ranking, Vega is a pretty choice that has yet to hit the mainstream. Visible from Earth, Vega is a star that forms part of the constellation Lyra.v
Leo: Latin for "lion," Leo is one of the constellations of the zodiac. In terms of baby names, it's a popular one, taking a spot in the top 100 on BabyCenter's list.
Juno: Though it's been more commonly given to little girls, parents of baby boys have definitely been warming to over the past year. Not only is Juno the name of the Roman goddess of marriage, it's also the rocket that launched America's first satellite, Explorer 1.
Phoenix: The name of a minor constellation in the southern sky, Phoenix has been steadily making its way up the baby name rankings. So far in 2017, it sits at #257 on BabyCenter's list.
Orion: Like some of the other picks on this list, Orion is the name of a constellation. Located on the celestial equator, it is frequently visible in the night sky.
Nash: A short and sweet name for a little boy, Nash -- a.k.a. Gamma Sagittarii -- is part of the zodiac constellation Sagittarius.
Cosmo: Of Greek origin, this name means "the universe." Unusual but interesting -- and entirely on theme -- this name squeaks onto BabyCenter's 2017 baby name ranking at #6,640.
Armstrong: Inspired by Neil Armstrong, the first person to walk on the moon, this name is perfect for your little astronaut-in-training.
Rocket: The name Rocket may seem a little "out there," but it seems it was perfect for singer Pharrell. He explained the unusual choice, saying, "In the same way the Indians named their children after a force or animal or element, we named him after a man-made machine that was meant to go up, meant to ascend." So far Rocket sits at #3,517 among baby boys' names on BabyCenter's 2017 ranking.
Some unique, beautiful choices there, don't you agree?
Interestingly, the name Eclipse barely registers on BabyCenter's list in 2017 so far. We'll have to wait and see if the total eclipse on August 21 puts it on our baby name radar!
Be sure to visit BabyCenter's outer space-inspired baby names list for more on these and other great names.
Main image by iStock
Opinions expressed by parent contributors are their own.