Naming asteroids is serious business. In the latest batch of officially named asteroids, five have been given names honoring astronomers at the University of Hawaiʻi Institute for Astronomy (IfA).
The International Astronomical Union Committee for Small Body Nomenclature is responsible for designating and naming minor planets. If an object has been observed for at least two nights and is proven to be a newly-identified object, it is assigned an initial provisional designation. If enough observations are obtained to calculate an orbit, the object is assigned a sequential numerical designation. The asteroid’s discoverer can then propose a formal name.
Newly designated asteroids
- (28990) Ariheinze
Aren (Ari) Heinze is a postdoctoral fellow working on Asteroid Terrestrial-Impact Last Alert System (ATLAS) at UH Mānoa. His areas of study include Pluto and other dwarf planets, brown dwarfs and asteroid discoveries.
- (33932) Keane
Jacqueline V. Keane is an assistant astronomer at IfA whose research interests include the use of ground- and space-based facilities to study the comae and nuclei of comets.
- (34689) Flewelling
Heather Flewelling is an instrument scientist at the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope. She was previously an ATLAS planetary defense researcher at UH Mānoa. Her work includes development of robotic telescopes and data pipelines, studying transient objects and outreach activities.
- (41458) Ramanjooloo
Yudish Ramanjooloo is a junior researcher at UH. His main research interests include studying near-Earth objects, and the interaction between the solar wind and the induced magnetosphere of comets and exoplanets.
- (51166) Huimanto
Man-To Hui is a postdoctoral researcher at IfA. His studies include photometric and dynamical studies of active asteroids, and near-Sun asteroids and comets.
These five new designations join a cornucopia of at least 40 asteroids named after current and former IfA astronomers, students, staff and other individuals.