When a new celestial object is observed two nights in a row, it is reported to the Minor Planet Center of the International Astronomical Union. A provisional designation is assigned. The object is observed over time and later may receive a permanent designation number. This process can take 10 or more years.
Once this happens, the discoverer is accorded the privilege of suggesting a name for it and writes a short citation explaining the reasons for assigning the name. The 11 member Small Bodies Names Committee of the International Astronomical Union then judges the suggested name. A name becomes official when it is published with its accompanying citation in the Minor Planet Circular. These circulars are issued monthly by the Minor Planet Center.