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Last Updated on March 1, 2024 by Universe Unriddled

How to Get an Asteroid Named After You

Score Your Own Asteroid

Have you ever dreamed of having an asteroid named after you? Well, it’s not as impossible as it may seem.

In fact, anyone can potentially have an asteroid named after them if they follow the right steps.

The process of getting an asteroid named after you starts with the discovery of a new asteroid. This means that you need to be the first person to observe and report a new celestial object that meets the criteria of being a relatively small space body orbiting the Sun.

Once the discovery is confirmed and the object’s orbit is studied, it will receive a provisional designation. From there, it needs to be observed and confirmed by professional astronomers before it can be given a permanent number and name.

The naming of asteroids is overseen by the Minor Planet Center, a working group of the International Astronomical Union. There are strict rules and guidelines for naming celestial objects, and it is important to follow them.

The names can be anything from mythological figures to proper names of individuals, pets, or even commercial names.

In recent years, there has been a surge in the naming of asteroids after famous people, such as James Bond and Mr. Spock.

So, if you’re looking to get an asteroid named after you, start studying the solar system and keep your eyes on the sky. Who knows, you may be the next discoverer of a new minor planet!

What is an Asteroid?

Asteroids are small, rocky objects that orbit the sun. They are also known as minor planets or space rocks. Most asteroids are found orbiting the sun between Mars and Jupiter within the main asteroid belt. Asteroids are remnants of the early formation of the solar system, which occurred around 4.6 billion years ago.

Asteroids come in all shapes and sizes. They can range from tiny pebbles to large objects that are hundreds of kilometers in diameter. Some asteroids are irregularly shaped, while others are more spherical.

Asteroids are classified based on their composition. There are three main types of asteroids: C-type, S-type, and M-type.

  • C-type asteroids, made up of carbonaceous material are the most common type.
  • S-type asteroids made of silicate materials and are the second most common type.
  • M-type asteroids are metallic and are the least common type.

Asteroids can be studied using telescopes, spacecraft, and other instruments.

Scientists study asteroids to learn more about the early formation of the solar system and to understand the potential impact hazards they pose to Earth.

Asteroids are relatively small space bodies that orbit the sun. They are celestial objects that are remnants of the early formation of the solar system.

Asteroids are classified based on their composition, and they can be studied using various instruments.

The History of Asteroid Naming

The Early Days

The first asteroids to be discovered were named after classical mythology figures such as Ceres, Juno, Pallas, and Vesta.

But as more asteroids were discovered, the naming process became less strict.

In 1985, an astronomer named an asteroid after a Star Trek character’s cat, which was allowed because the cat was named after the character.

The International Astronomical Union

Today, the International Astronomical Union’s Committee on Small Body Nomenclature oversees the naming of asteroids. Names must be inoffensive and not connected to recent political or military activities.

The Jesuits and the Vatican

The Jesuits, a Catholic religious order, have a long history of involvement in astronomy. In the 16th century, Jesuit mathematician Christopher Clavius helped reform the Gregorian calendar. Later, Jesuit astronomers Giovanni Battista Riccioli and Johann Hagen named many of the first asteroids.

In 1891, Pope Leo XIII founded the Vatican Observatory, which is located at the papal summer residence in Castel Gandolfo. The observatory is now run by Jesuit Brother Guy Consolmagno and a dozen other priests.

The Vatican Observatory’s research has contributed to the naming of several asteroids. For example, in 2000, the Minor Planet Center named an asteroid after Ugo Boncompagni, the 16th-century pontiff who founded the Gregorian calendar.

Today, the Vatican Observatory continues to update the International Astronomical Union on the naming of asteroids. In 2019, the working group of the union responsible for naming small bodies in the solar system approved the naming of an asteroid after Gregory’s birth name in honor of his contributions to astronomy.

Overall, the Jesuits and the Vatican have played an important role in the naming of asteroids, and their observatory continues to contribute to our understanding of the universe.

How to Get an Asteroid Named After You

Getting an asteroid named after you is an excellent way to leave a lasting legacy in the field of astronomy. Here are the steps you need to follow to get an asteroid named after you.

Discovering a New Asteroid

The first step to getting an asteroid named after you is to discover a new asteroid.

Professional astronomers from observatories like the European Southern Observatory or the Hubble Space Telescope are the most likely to discover a new asteroid.

However, amateur astronomers can also make new discoveries.

When a new asteroid is discovered, it is given a provisional designation that includes the year of discovery and a combination of letters and numbers.

For example, an asteroid discovered in 2023 would be given a provisional designation of 2023 AB.

Naming Rights and Rules

The discoverer of a new asteroid gets the right to propose a name for the asteroid. However, there are strict rules about what types of names are acceptable.

The International Astronomical Union’s Committee on Small Body Nomenclature oversees the naming of asteroids and has a set of guidelines that must be followed.

Some of the rules include avoiding names of pet animals, star names, and fast cash loan companies.

Proposed names must also be pronounceable, not offensive, and not too similar to existing asteroid names. The discoverer must also provide a short citation explaining why they chose the proposed name.

Proposing and Registering a Name

Once a proposed name has been chosen, the discoverer must submit a proposal to the Minor Planet Center.

The proposal must include the proposed name, the citation, and other relevant information about the asteroid.

If the proposal is accepted, the asteroid is given an official name and a permanent number that corresponds with the object’s place on the chronological list of previous discoveries.

It is important to note that the naming of asteroids is not a fast process. It can take several years for a proposed name to be accepted and for the asteroid to be given an official name.

Getting an asteroid named after you is a significant accomplishment in the field of astronomy.

By following the steps outlined above, anyone can propose a name for a new minor planet.

However, it is essential to follow the strict rules set by the International Astronomical Union’s Committee on Small Body Nomenclature to ensure that the proposed name is accepted.

Famous Asteroid Names

Asteroids have been named after a variety of entities, from mythological figures to pop culture references to scientists and astronomers. Here are some famous asteroid names and the stories behind them.

Mythological Figures

Many asteroids are named after mythological figures from various cultures. For example, there is asteroid 4 Vesta, named after the Roman goddess of the hearth and home. There is also asteroid 1 Ceres, named after the Roman goddess of agriculture and motherly love.

Pop Culture References

Some asteroids have been named after pop culture references, such as James Bond. Asteroid 9007 James Bond was named after the fictional British spy. Another example is asteroid 2309 Mr. Spock, named after the iconic Star Trek character.

Astronomers and Scientists

Many asteroids have been named after astronomers and scientists who have made significant contributions to the field. For example, there is asteroid 704 Interamnia, named after the International Astronomy Meeting held in Italy in 1911.

There is also asteroid 8077 Stoeger, named after Bill Stoeger, a Jesuit astronomer who made significant contributions to cosmology.

There are many famous asteroid names with interesting stories behind them. Whether named after mythological figures, pop culture references, or scientists and astronomers, each name has a unique history and significance.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the rules for naming asteroids?

The International Astronomical Union’s Committee on Small Body Nomenclature oversees the naming of asteroids. The rules include avoiding names of pet animals, star names, and fast cash loan companies. Proposed names must also be pronounceable, not offensive, and not too similar to existing asteroid names.

How much does it cost to get a comet named after you?

There is no cost associated with getting a comet or an asteroid named after you. The key is to discover a new celestial body. Once you do that, you have the right to propose a name for it, following the guidelines set by the International Astronomical Union.

Who gets to name a newly discovered asteroid?

The person or team who discovers a new asteroid gets the right to propose a name for it. The proposed name, along with a short citation explaining the choice, is then submitted to the Minor Planet Center for approval.

Can you name a comet after yourself?

 Similar to asteroids, if you discover a new comet, you have the right to propose a name for it. The name must follow the guidelines set by the International Astronomical Union.

How are asteroids named?

Once a new asteroid is discovered, it is given a provisional designation. The discoverer then has the right to propose a name, following the guidelines set by the International Astronomical Union. The proposed name is then submitted to the Minor Planet Center for approval. If accepted, the asteroid is given an official name and a permanent number.

Conclusion

In conclusion, getting an asteroid named after you is not an easy feat, but it is definitely possible.

As we have seen in the last few years, many people have successfully achieved this celestial claim, including discoverers of asteroids and even high school students.

However, it is important to note that the process of getting an asteroid named after you is overseen by the Minor Planet Center, which is part of the International Astronomical Union.

The process can take years, and it involves confirming the orbit of the asteroid and making sure that it is not already named.

Pope Francis even has an asteroid named after him, which was discovered by the Vatican Observatory in 1998. This goes to show that anyone can have an asteroid named after them, as long as they are willing to put in the effort and follow the proper procedures.

In recent years, there have been updates to the Union’s guidelines for naming asteroids.

The guidelines now allow for more diverse names, including names of people from underrepresented groups and names of fictional characters.

In observatory today, astronomers are constantly discovering new asteroids, and there are still many asteroids out there that have not yet been named.

So, who knows, maybe the next asteroid to be named will be named after you!

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