Baby Name Inspiration: The Sun, Moon, and Stars

Many parents are hoping their baby’s name will fall from the sky – literally. Some of the biggest girl names have come from astrology. For example, Stella, which means “star” in Latin is in the top 100, at #73 for 2011 and has trended upwards since entering the top 1000 in 1998. Luna, once considered unthinkable, broke the top 300, at #278 in 2011 and has trended upwards since entering the top 1000 in 2003.

There are other astrological names besides Stella and Luna, many more. This list might seem extensive, but a lot of these seemed very reasonable as names, and surprises must be included. The boys are a little more daring because boy’s names seemed woefully unrepresented, and I had to reach a bit. Here’s the list (girls are coded pink, boys are blue, and unisex are green):

Altair – A star in the constellation Aquila.
AndromedaA constellation and mythical Greek princess.
Aries – A constellation. The ram from Roman mythology.
ArtemisGreek moon goddess.
AstraGreek for star.
BellatrixA star in the constellation Orion.
CallistoOne of Jupiter’s moons.
CassiopeiaA constellation and wife of Cepheus and mother of Andromeda in Greek mythology.
CelesteFrench feminine form of Caelestis Latin for “of the sky, heavenly”.
ChandraSanskrit for moon.
Cynthia Epithet of the Greek moon goddess Artemis.
DanicaSlavic for “morning star”.
Dara – Means “star” in Khmer.
DianaRoman moon goddess.
EloiseSometimes associated with the Greek word helios meaning “sun”.
EstelleOld French name derived from Stella (see below).
Helios – Greek for sun and the name of the young Greek sun-god who rod across the sky each day in a chariot pulled by four horses.
IoOne of Jupiter’s moons and a mythical Greek princess loved by Zeus. Pronunciation (EE-o).
Jericho – A name of a city in Israel mentioned several times in the Old Testament. The meaning is not clear, but could be related to the Hebrew word yareach meaning “moon”.
Jupiter – The fifth planet in the solar system.
LarissaOne of Neptune’s moons.
Leo – A constellation. The lion.
LunaRoman goddess of the moon.
LyraA constellation.
Mars – The fourth planet in the solar system.
NeomaGreek for “new moon”.
Neptune – The eight planet in the solar system.
NovaIn astronomy a nova is a star that releases a large burst of energy.
Orion – A constellation named after the mythical Greek hunter.
Rigel – A star in the constellation Orion.
SeleneGreek for moon.
SidraLatin meaning “of the stars”.
Skye – A variant of Sky.
StellaLatin for star.
SoleilFrench for sun.
PhoebeOne of Saturn’s moons and Latinized form of the Greek Phoibe a Titan from Greek mythology associated with the moon.
PortiaOne of Uranus’ moons.
TaraSanskrit for star and the name of a Hindu astral goddess.
Twila / TwylaPossibly based on the English word twilight or from the French etoile, meaning star.
UrsaTwo constellations: Ursa Major and Ursa Minor.
VegaA star in the constellation Lyra. #77 in Spain (for 2010).
VesperaPossibly derived from the word vesper, meaning “the evening star”.
VenusThe second planet in the solar system.
ZonaLatin for “girdle” and the name of the stars that make up Orion’s belt.

Overall most of these names seem inspired yet practical – among the girls at least. The boy names might only appeal to the intrepid.

Andromeda is simply stunning but I don’t know if I love it only in theory. I would never use it on my child and I’m unsure how I would feel if I met a real-life Andromeda. I might like the name better on an adult than a kid.

Io is fascinating. The two letters may make the name appear incomplete, but put the name in a unique class. Two letter-two syllable names are difficult to find. At the moment I have no reservations recommending Io for a pet. Perhaps in 20 years I could get on board with Io on a person.

But perhaps Io is not out of the question in the near future. O-ending boy names are gaining in popularity, and perhaps o-ending girl names, such as Juno, could catch on too. If Juno catches on, Io may become a realistic possibility.

The boys and unisex options seemed lacking.

Ten years ago, I wouldn’t have dared put Helios and Jericho on the list. Despite the unusual sound and appearance, Helios and Jericho are substantial due to their mythological and Biblical roots. Nevertheless, until recently these names would have seemed too strange to even consider. I still don’t expect many people to clamor to them. But parents are becoming more experimental and perhaps some adventurous folks will consider them.

I deliberately omitted some planets in the solar system. Apparently almost every planet is acknowledged as a name, usually a male name, by some online source. Including every planet in this list seemed unnecessary. Some planets just aren’t good names. Uranus seems especially awkward.

I also deliberately omitted another boy name discovered in my research, Haul, which is Welsh for “sun.” Haul was almost included since it is name-like in some ways being similar to Paul and Saul. Unfortunately, Haul is also synonymous with “pull” or “drag” and that’s why it was removed.

According to Behind the Name, Celeste is unisex, but I simply cannot picture Celeste on a boy. I’m not familiar enough with non-western cultures to know if Celeste would work on a boy in those cultures. I’m curious to hear from readers on this. Would Celeste work on a boy?

Some of these, like Tara have been around seemingly forever. Others are stylish revival choices like Stella. And others seem undiscovered and would make great modern choices like Altair and Astra.

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  1. I have a great weakness for astronomical names, Phoebe and Stella are two of my favourites.

    I think boys names from stars etc do tend to be slightly more daring – two I know of on real people are Tariq, which refers to the Morning Star (Venus) and Nash (a star in the constellation of Sagittarius). I like Phoenix and Orion also (both constellations).

    Someone I know had a baby Danica a couple of months ago – I only found out that it meant “morning star” at that time. Also, a friend only just had a baby Cynthia, which we were discussing on your blog before – she didn’t share baby names while pregnant and I had no idea that was going to be the baby’s name! Definitely a name on the upswing.

    • I didn’t know Nash was a star as well. That would have been a good boy suggestion. I just recently found out Danica meant morning star too. I always just thought Danica was a feminine form of Dan or Daniel.

  2. Zeke is an Arabic name for boys meaning shooting star 🙂
    Belenus means ‘shining’ and is a Celtic sun god as far as I know.
    Dismas means ‘sunset’, Iah is an Egyptian name meaning ‘moon’, Rakesh means ‘lord of the full-moon day’.
    Luno is also a masculine form of Luna that I like a lot.
    I also have a soft spot for Roshan which means ‘daylight’ but I don’t thing it fits your criteria?
    Icarus flew too close to the sun, I always associate him with the sun.

    • That should be think, not thing 🙂
      Also thought some more, Apollo should be here, along with Samson, Eleodoro, Ravi and Arun as sun related names.

  3. Bree williamson says:

    I was given an amazing gift for christmas, a 2 month old baby girl puppy, she is toy cocker spaniel and beagle breed, ive had her for a bit now a few days but i can not figure out a name, im looking for something unique as it fit the situation, you see, she is white with blue eyes and pink eye lids, she also has the peach nose, it looks like she is wearing pink eye liner and her lips are actually pink as well, she has two even whiter spots on two of her “toes” one on each back foot, she very sweet, needy and loves cats!!! So if u can imagine, she is so sweet, can anyone give me some ideas?

  4. I also love the name Io. The problem that I have with names like Io, that end in “o” and seem like boy names in our society, is that a lot of them do not have manly origins. Io was one of Zeus’ many mistresses so I would have trouble naming a boy that. This is mainly because at some point my son would ask me where his name came from and I would probably just say that he was named after a moon of Jupiter. The problem is, with the internet as a resource, he would probably do additional digging and find out that he was basically given a girl name.

  5. I think that you missed out on a more reasonable boy name, Caelum which is a Constellation of stars in south. I’ve heard a lot of Keston and Caleb lately, personally if I were to choose any name presented that would definitely be better than Jericho.

  6. I think I just fell in love ….
    …. with Io – (it’s pronounced Ahy-oh though not ee-oh, like most ancient Greek names like Iona and Iole and Ianthe).
    Is it just me or a Ancient Greek names very hip?
    Io is incredibly cool and is going right now on my middle names list, give it time and it could make it to the first name list! I hardly ever ever ever ever discover a new name love so this is an exciting moment, thank you Angela!

    • I’m glad to hear that! It’s always exciting to discover a new name!

      I like Ancient Greek names, and I agree they can be very hip. When I first discovered Io, I wasn’t sure what to think. It seemed too abrupt at first. But eventually, Io grew on me.

  7. ps add Hester to this, it means Evening Star.

  8. anonymous says:

    Some (to me) very reasonable boy names on my list include:
    caelum: a constellation in the south
    corvus : another constellation in the south
    Draco : constellation in the far northern sky
    Indus: constellation in the southern sky
    Lupus: constellation in the deep southern sky
    Orion: constellation on the celestial equator
    Volans: constellation in the southern sky
    scorpius: a constellation of the zodiac
    solis: (Latin) sun, sunshine
    eous: (Latin) morningstar
    altair : (Greek) the brightest star in aquila
    Sirius: brightest star seen from earth
    and of course:
    leo: constellation of the zodiac

    as you can see, no boy-naming problems here!! 😉

    for girls i have quite the list as well, but there’s a lot on this list already 🙂


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