Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Star-Gayzing : Out of This World Update

Today is Asteroid Day. Its main objective is to raise awareness of the many hundreds of asteroids which cross Earth’s orbit and have a possibility of crashing into it one day, and try to work out what to do about it. There are several “close shaves” each year, and one in 2013 by asteroid Duende (on the same day as another one made that spectacular impact in Russia that hit the headlines) actually got closer than most geostationary satellites! Over 700 of these Near Earth Objects, as they’re called, have been discovered so far this year! But, for me, it gives me the opportunity to return to the subject of asteroids named after members of the lgbt community and their allies.

As before I’ve listed them in order of discovery. Once discovered each asteroid’s orbit is calculated, and if it proves to be a new one it is given an official number (the number I give in brackets before each of the name). Later the International Astronomical Union, who govern these things, approves a name for the asteroid. Since the 1970s these new names have been published in the bulletin of the Minor Planets Center, by which means it becomes official. A citation is often given to explain the name, and I’ve included these in quotation marks. I’ve added a comment or two of my own after the quotation to highlight any other lgbt link.

In the original “Out of This World” series I included asteroids with names created in the works of lgbt writers (e.g. Neverland, and Moomintroll). I’ve included more today. The huge amount of newly discovered asteroids (nearly 48,000 have been discovered this year so far, and we’re only half way through it!) means that I can bring you more lists like this every year. I’ve also linked some names to articles I’ve written about each individual.

(80) Sappho   Discovered 2 May 1864. “Named in honour of the renowned Greek lyric poetess (610 BC) who threw herself into the ocean because of her unrequited love for the young Phaon.”

(563) Suleika  Discovered 6 Apr 1905. “Named for a character in ‘Also Sprach Zarathustra’ (1885) by the German philosopher Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (1844-1900). Suleika and Dudu are mentioned in part IV in the chapter ‘Unter Töchtern der Wüste’. These are the only feminine characters in Zarathustra.”

(564) Dudu     Discovered 9 May 1905. “Named for a character in ‘Also Sprach Zarathustra’ (1885) by the German philosopher Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (1844-1900).”

(763) Cupido  Discovered 25 Sept 1913. “Named after the Roman god of erotic love because of its relatively small distance from the Sun.”

(1010) Marlene           Discovered 12 Nov 1923. “The name honours the Berlin born motion picture star Maria Magdalena von Losch alias Marlene Deitrich (1901-1992).”

(1221) Amor   Discovered 12 Mar 1932. “Amor is the Latin name for the Greek Eros, the god of love. Like (433) Eros this planet makes close approaches to Earth.”

(1730) Marceline        Discovered 17 Oct 1936. Name published 8 Apr 1982. “Named for the heroine of André Gide’s novel ‘L’Immoraliste’. As a beautiful and devoted young wife Marceline nursed her husband from the brink of death to robust health. When soon afterward Marceline became ill her husband benignly neglected her. Marceline suffered much physical and mental anguish and finally died needlessly.”

(5148) Giordano        Discovered 17 Oct 1960. Name published 1 Sept 1993. “Named in honour of Giordano Bruno (1548-1600), Dominican priest, who spent 16 years travelling through Europe, but who was mostly in London, where many of his papers were published. Bruno assumed the existence of other worlds on which people could live, and he was convinced of the correctness of the heliocentric system. This brought him in conflict with the church and he was condemned and burned on the Campo dei Fiori in Rome.”

(1943) Anteros           Discovered 13 Mar 1973. Named published 1978. “Anteros was in attendance upon Eros and was sometimes said to be the avenger of slighted over, sometimes the one who opposes love, and was said by other authorities to be the twin brother of Eros.”

(3826) Handel            Discovered 27 Oct 1973. Name published 27 Aug 1988. “Named for the illustrious composer George Friedrich Handel (1685-1759). Although his greatest works were composed after he moved to England, Handel was born in Halle, only some 60 km from Tautenberg.”

(3318) Blixen              Discovered 23 Apr 1985. Name published 18 Sept 1986. “Named in memory of the celebrated Danish writer Karen Blixen (1885-1962) on the hundredth anniversary of her birth. Among her best known writings are ‘Seven Gothic Tales’ (1934) and the memory-novel ‘Out of Africa’ (1937). An American screen version of the latter was produced in 1985.”

(6549) Skryabin         Discovered 13 Aug 1988. Name published 5 Mar 1996. “Named in memory of the Russian composer Alexandr Nikolaevich Skryabin (1872-1915). Though one of the most fascinating phenomena at the beginning of the 20th century, his music was largely unappreciated because of his contradictory philosophical ideas. His most important symphonies, sonatas and other pieces for the piano were composed to an ever-increasing degree following his bold aim to create a mystery that should unite all the arts in a grand liturgical-artistical action to uplift and redeem humanity above itself into a condition of supreme ecstasy.”

(4382) Stravinsky      Discovered 29 Nov 1989. Name published 8 June 1990. “Named in memory of the famous composer Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971), known for his very versatile musical creations, including ballet music and operas... Born in Russia, Stravinsky lived in Switzerland and France before moving to the United States in 1939.”

(8676) Lully    Discovered 2 Feb 1992. Name published 20 Nov 2002. “Jean-Baptiste Lully (1632-1687), an Italian-French composer, created very lively style of composition by introducing quicker dances such as the bourée, gavotte and gigue into his ballets. A beautiful example of his music is ‘La Marche des Combattans’.”

(13602) Pierreboulez            Discovered 10 Aug 1994. Name published 2 June 2015. “Pierre Boulez (b.1925) is a French composer, conductor and pianist. As a child he showed a great aptitude for music and mathematics. He discovered the twelve-tone technique and wrote atonic music in a post-Weberian style.”

(13223) Cenaceneri               Discovered 13 Aug 1997. Name published 23 May 2000. “ ‘La Cena della Ceneri’ (‘The Dinner of the Ashes’) is a work by the Italian philosopher Giordano Bruno (1548-1600) in which, for the first time in Western philosophical thought, there is discussion of the infinity of worlds in the universe.” It wasn’t the infinity of worlds which earned him condemnation from the Church (they had no problem with that idea) but his belief that a separate Christ inhabits each and every one of them, and the Church taught that Christ was unique.

15959) Rhaeticus     Discovered 17 Jan 1998. Name published 9 Mar 2002. Rhaeticus (Georg Joachim Lauchen, 1514-1574) was a humanist, physician, mathematician and astronomer at the universities of Vienna, Leipzig and Wittenburg. He summarised and popularised the work of his teacher Copernicus, initiating the first printing of ‘De Revolutionibus’.”

(342843) Davidbowie            Discovered 21 Dec 2008. Name published 5 Jan 2015 “David Bowie (David Robert Jones, b.1947) is a British musician, singer, producer and actor. He started his career in the 1960s and became widely known in the early 1970s. One of the most influential artists, he has released more than 25 albums and has stared in several movies like ‘Labyrinth’ and ‘Prestige’.”


19175) Peterpiot       Discovered 2 Aug 1991. Name published 8 Oct 2014. “Peter Piot (b.1949), a Belgian physician, co-discovered the ebola virus in Zaire in 1976. In addition to providing the foundations of our understanding of HIV infection, he is the author of 16 books and 500 scientific articles. He has been the director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine since 2010.”

(6692) Antonínholý   Discovered 18 Apr 1985. Name published 2 June 2015. “Antonín Holý (1936–2012) was a renowned Czech chemist who significantly contributed to the development of antiretroviral drugs used in the treatment of HIV and hepatitis B. He was the author of more than 400 scientific papers and was awarded with honorary degrees from several universities at home and abroad.”

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