William Shatner was irate when “Vulcan” was rejected as a name of one of Pluto’s moons. But the names associated with his dear friend Mr. Spock will live long. Last week, the Minor Planet Center dubbed an asteroid discovered in nearly 30 years ago “(4864) Nimoy”.
Here’s the announcement:
(4864) Nimoy is a small asteroid circling the Sun with trillions of other rocky bits outside the orbit of Mars. But “small” is a relative term. (4864) Nimoy is about the size of a mountain (10 kilometers across), and orbits the Sun once about every four years.
And even though this Spock rock doesn’t produce its own light, it certainly reflects it, and Universe Today reports that “amateurs with 14-inch or larger telescopes might glimpse it” in mid-July when (4864) Nimoy moves from the constellation Capricornus into Sagittarius.
Leonard Nimoy was so much to so many people. His life and untimely death inspired both tributes in real life and in extraterrestrial life. It’s fitting then that his name should truly live long and prosper, as his namesake asteroid is sure to explore our solar system well beyond the 23rd century. Fascinating.
HT: Universe Today
IMAGES: NASA; JPL; cometlynx