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Encyclopedia > Minor planet names

Minor planet names, including those of asteroids and dwarf planets, are managed by the Minor Planet Center, a branch of the IAU. They consist, in their final form, of a number originally assigned in approximate order of discovery, now assigned only after the orbit is determined, coupled with a name, which may be provisional or assigned by its discoverer,[1] with the syntax (Number) Name, e.g. (50000) Quaoar or (90377) Sedna. The parentheses may be dropped, abridging the designation to 50000 Quaoar or 90377 Sedna, according to the preference of the astronomer or journal. In practice, however, the number is mostly a catalogue entry for any reasonably well-known object, and may be dropped completely. It has been suggested that minor planet be merged into this article or section. ... Artists impression of Pluto (background) and Charon (foreground). ... The Minor Planet Center operates at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO), which is part of the Center for Astrophysics (CfA) along with the Harvard College Observatory (HCO). ... Logo of the IAU The International Astronomical Union (French: Union astronomique internationale) unites national astronomical societies from around the world. ... 50000 Quaoar (pronounced kwaa·waar or kwow·ər, English IPA: , Tongva ) [2] is a Trans-Neptunian object orbiting the Sun in the Kuiper belt. ... 90377 Sedna is a trans-Neptunian object, discovered by Michael Brown (Caltech), Chad Trujillo (Gemini Observatory) and David Rabinowitz (Yale University) on November 14, 2003. ... 50000 Quaoar (pronounced kwaa·waar or kwow·ər, English IPA: , Tongva ) [2] is a Trans-Neptunian object orbiting the Sun in the Kuiper belt. ... 90377 Sedna is a trans-Neptunian object, discovered by Michael Brown (Caltech), Chad Trujillo (Gemini Observatory) and David Rabinowitz (Yale University) on November 14, 2003. ...


The convention for satellites of minor planets (e.g (87) Sylvia I Romulus) is an extension of the Roman numeral convention that had been used, on and off, for the moons of the planets since Galileo's time. 87 Sylvia (sil-vee-a) is one of the largest main-belt asteroids. ... The naming of natural satellites has been the responsibility of the IAUs committee for Planetary System Nomenclature since 1973. ... Galileo can refer to: Galileo Galilei, astronomer, philosopher, and physicist (1564 - 1642) the Galileo spacecraft, a NASA space probe that visited Jupiter and its moons the Galileo positioning system Life of Galileo, a play by Bertolt Brecht Galileo (1975) - screen adaptation of the play Life of Galileo by Bertolt Brecht...


Comets are also managed by the Minor Planet Center, but use a different cataloguing system. The Minor Planet Center operates at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO), which is part of the Center for Astrophysics (CfA) along with the Harvard College Observatory (HCO). ... Comet Hale-Bopp Comet McNaught as seen from Swifts Creek, Victoria, Australia on 23 January 2007 A comet is a small body in the solar system that orbits the Sun and (at least occasionally) exhibits a coma (or atmosphere) and/or a tail â€” both primarily from the effects of...


History

By 1851 there were 15 asteroids, all but one with their own symbols. These were getting increasingly complex, and, as they had to be drawn by hand, astronomers found some of them difficult. 1851 (MDCCCLI) was a common year starting on Wednesday (see link for calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Friday of the 12-day-slower Julian calendar). ...


This difficulty was addressed by Benjamin Apthorp Gould in 1851, who suggested numbering them in order of discovery, and writing these numbers in circles instead. This practice was quickly taken up, and rapidly became incorporated into an official designation as the number of minor planets increased. It was soon (c1858) simplified to the number in parentheses, followed by the name: "(4) Vesta", with a variant form without parentheses gradually evolving: "4 Vesta". Other variants, including all forms of the original circled numbers, "(4)" alone, and "4, Vesta" had more or less completely died out by 1949.[2] Benjamin Apthorp Gould (September 27, 1824 – November 26, 1896) was an American astronomer. ... 4 Vesta (ves-ta) is the second most massive asteroid in the asteroid belt, with a mean diameter of about 530 km and an estimated mass 12% the mass of the entire asteroid belt. ... 4 Vesta (ves-ta) is the second most massive asteroid in the asteroid belt, with a mean diameter of about 530 km and an estimated mass 12% the mass of the entire asteroid belt. ... 4 Vesta (ves-ta) is the second most massive asteroid in the asteroid belt, with a mean diameter of about 530 km and an estimated mass 12% the mass of the entire asteroid belt. ... 4 Vesta (ves-ta) is the second most massive asteroid in the asteroid belt, with a mean diameter of about 530 km and an estimated mass 12% the mass of the entire asteroid belt. ...


References

  1. ^ IAU FAQ page
  2. ^ From Dr. James Hilton's When Did the Asteroids Become Minor Planets?, particularly the discussion of Gould, B. A. 1852, On the Symbolic Notation of the Asteroids, Astronomical Journal, Vol. 2, and immediately subsequent history. The discussion of C. J. Cunningham (1988), also from there, explains the parenthetical part.

James Lindsay Hilton (born February 21, 1957) has been an astronomer at the United States Naval Observatory since 1986. ... Benjamin Apthorp Gould (September 27, 1824 – November 26, 1896) was an American astronomer. ...

External links

James Lindsay Hilton (born February 21, 1957) has been an astronomer at the United States Naval Observatory since 1986. ...

 
 

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