The best eclipse-inspired baby names for boys and girls

As we prepare for the solar eclipse that will be visible across the United States on August 21 (do you have your NASA-approved viewing glasses ready?), what about all the babies that will be born that Monday?

This eclipse will be the first complete solar eclipse visible from the lower 48 since 1979, and it's the first solar eclipse that will be visible across the whole nation since 1918.


While eclipses and pregnancy have sometimes been associated with alarming superstitions, we think having a baby during a once-in-a-century celestial event is pretty cool! So here are some baby names inspired by the sun and moon, curated by the name experts at May we suggest Apollo and Luna for any boy-girl twins born August 21?

Sunny Names


Pronounced “Ahn-ya”, this Irish name belongs to the Celtic goddess of midsummer. It literally translates to “brightness” or “radiance,” and has the sound to suit it! While spelling and pronouncing the name in the US might prove difficult, it really is a lovely heritage choice.


Sun god Apollo was one of the major figures in ancient Greek mythology. Today, the name is attached to all sorts of things — Gwen Stefani's son, the Apollo program at NASA, athlete Apolo Ohno, the fictional Apollo Creed, and technology/boats/songs to boot. It’s at #751 now, and will probably rise sky-high over the next few years.


Want an edgy alternative to Elias, Eli, or Elijah? Elio is the Spanish and Italian translation of Helios, another Greek sun god. Its form fits in with modern trends —the El-beginning and O-ending — but its history and melodic sound stand out. Elio has gotten popular in France, and it’s only a matter of time before it crosses the pond.


The French word for “sun,” Soleil is straightforward but sophisticated. Actress Soleil Moon Frye (what a perfect name for this post!) brought it to U.S. attention in the 1970’s, but it's now no longer quite as attached to a single wearer. More than 100 girls were named Soleil last year, and the numbers are increasing! Nicknames Sol or Leila offer a little bit of personalization.


This name peaked in 1977 at #119, but Summer still hangs on in the Top 200. It’s light, fresh, and upbeat — a nature name not mired in dirt or caterpillars. Summer is also nickname-proof, if that’s your style, and has quite a few namesakes in fiction and reality. Christina Aguliera named her daughter Summer Rain.


Sunniva is the patron saint of western Norway. Her name means “sun gift.” Sunniva offers the short forms Sunny and Niva, and it doesn’t sound like too many names currently in use, despite its rhythm. Only ten little Sunnivas were born last year!


The Hindu sun god Surya represents courage, friendliness, and power — making it not a bad namesake for a little one! Fifty-one male Suryas and ten female Suryas were born in the U.S. last year, and the name is accessible enough for any gender. Note — you may have to explain that Suri was not your inspiration.

Lunar Names


There are actually two origins for Ayla — in Hebrew it means “oak tree” and in Turkish it means “moonlight.” It’s fairly popular at #265, probably because it consists of two trendy syllables and begins and ends with "a." But usage aside, it’s beautiful and feminine and a name that will mature with the wearer.


It’s everywhere lately — Luna has taken nations across the globe by storm. It works cross-culturally, for one thing, and it’s also easy to spell, pronounce, and explain. Luna may also be appreciated for its "Harry Potter" connection, as well as its prevalence in other types of children’s media — "Stellaluna," "Bear in the Big Blue House."

Babies born during the solar eclipse deserve an out-of-this-world name!


Meaning “gift of the moon,” this unusual Greek name gains gravity through its use as a saint’s name. It also provides a darker counterpart to Theodora or Isadora. It might be difficult to explain, but it’s well worth the effort! Nicknames can also help make this mouthful a bit more accessible.


While this name might be confused with Naomi a bit, it really does have its own style. Neoma means “new moon” in Greek, and offers the cool Neo– opening (and short form option). It’s short, sweet, and unique — a veritable name trifecta.


Only one letter apart, these Greek moon goddess names have very different personalities. Selene is subdued, grown-up, and très française. Selena is bright, energetic, and muy española. Either choice is a name to be over the moon about!