From: First Light Magazine
Posted: Wednesday, April 15, 2015
What do Stephen Hawking, Carl Sagan, and John Lennon have in common? They all have asteroids named after them. Now First Light Magazine, in association with Zooniverse, offers you a chance to share the same privilege. By participating to our free contest, you can win the opportunity to name an asteroid located in the main belt, between Mars and Jupiter.
Want to play and write your name in the sky? It’s easy, and free: download our free app, First Light Magazine, through your favorite App Store, download our free demo issue of First Light Magazine #1, and answer two questions. Then, connect tozooniverse.org and answer a third question.
Ready? Fill out our form [http://www.firstlight-magazine.com/give-your-name-to-an-asteroid-2] by 19 April, 19:00 UTC (3:00 pm EDT in the US). The name of the winner, designated by a random drawing, will be announced at the Northeast Astronomy Forum (NEAF), the largest astronomy expo worldwide (18-19 April, http://www.rocklandastronomy.com/neaf.html).
What are the orbital parameters of the asteroid?
a = semi major axis = 2.72 AU
e = orbital eccentricity = 0.051
i = orbital plane inclination = 3.67 degrees
P = orbital period = 4.48 years
I thought only discoverers could name asteroids. How come I get to do it?
Yes, that’s true, normally. But one of those discoverers has kindly agreed to take the winner’s suggestion for the asteroid in question. Nonetheless, it is he who will officially propose to the International Astronomical Union that the asteroid be named in accordance with the winner’s wish.
Can I give any name to the asteroid?
Yes, as long as the name is in agreement with IAU nomenclature’s rules (http://www.iau.org/public/themes/naming/#minorplanets) and has not already been taken.
When will “my” asteroid be officially recognized?
The IAU calls for proposals about twice a year. They are then judged by the fifteen-person Working Group for Small Body Nomenclature of the IAU, comprised of professional astronomers with research interests connected with minor planets and/or comets from around the world. That process lasts a few months. So, you should expect your name to be evaluated and then officially accepted within about a year.
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First Light [http://www.firstlight-magazine.com] is written in English and produced by a non-profit organization based in Paris, whose goal is to popularize astronomy worldwide. First Light is the most interactive of any astronomy magazine today. You can read it on a tablet, a smartphone or a computer and interact with all of our pages. First Light offers a unique content: our journalists cover the latest astronomical findings, but also provide in-depth articles, reports from the field all over the world, portraits and extensive interviews of top scientists, investigations into space missions and space politics, etc.
Zooniverse [https://www.zooniverse.org] is a platform that proposes some thirty participatory science projects, covering all branches of science, including ten in astronomy. These include discovering how galaxies form with Galaxy Zoo, examining the lunar surface in minute detail with Moon Zoo, or studying Martian weather with Planet Four. To date, more than 1.2 million Internet users have contributed to data analysis and made real discoveries that have generated several dozen scientific publications.
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