Locally-discovered asteroids named for local astronomers
POSTED: Saturday, August 24, 2013 - 4:00pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, August 28, 2013 - 10:05am
BATON ROUGE, LA — From 1998 to 2000 over forty asteroids were discovered at the Highland Road Park Observatory. Now, five of those asteroids have been named for local citizens who have made notable contributions to professional or amateur astronomy.
*85878 Guzik—named for Professor T. Gregory Guzik, who has been LSU’s liaison to HRPO since before the observatory’s 1997 opening.
*101722 Pursell—named for BRAS Co-Founder Wallace Pursell, who has published in Astronomy magazine.
*74439 Brenden—named for BRAS Co-Founder Craig Brenden, who was Education Curator at HRPO for eight years.
*162158 Merrillhess—named for BRAS member Merrill Hess, who was instrumental in the founding of HRPO and who himself co-discovered five asteroids.
*53256 Sinitiere—named for Robert Sinitiere, who served as BRAS Treasurer for over thirty years.
Asteroids Pursell and Sinitiere were discovered by Walt Cooney; the others were discovered by Cooney and Ethan Kandler.
Previously, HRPO-discovered asteroids have been given designations in honor of others in the professional or amateur astronomy fields.
*15072 Landolt—named for LSU Professor Arlo Landolt, developer of the famous Photometric Standard Star table.
*16017 Chanmugam—named for late LSU Professor Ganesar Chanmugam, who made important contributions in the studies of neutron stars and white dwarfs.
*43083 Frankconrad—named for late BRAS member Frank Conrad, who earned the Astronomical League’s Messier Award and for whom HRPO’s Volunteer of the Year Award is also named.
The very first asteroid discovered at HRPO (by Cooney and Matt Collier) was named 11739 Baton Rouge.