Thursday, April 19, 2012

Asteroid Pathall

A bunch of asteroids were discovered in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, in which I was involved. So the asteroid scientists in the SDSS decided to name an asteroid after each of the several hundred scientists involved in the SDSS. It took a couple years, and I didn't want to say anything until it came through, but it finally did, and now I have an asteroid named after me. You can see asteroid Pathall here. If you zoom in, you see a green, a red, and a blue image from upper left to lower right. Photos in those colors were taken about a minute apart, and because the asteroid is moving the images are offset from each other. This asteroid hangs out beyond Mars, and is probably about 10 km on a side. It has an orbit with an eccentricity of 0.1491 (on a scale of 0 to 1), which is slightly disappointing; a more eccentric object would have been more appropriate to name after me, I think...

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