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Andromeda321
2004-Aug-27, 04:18 AM
I've been wondering lately: if you wanted to seriously go about naming an asteroid, how would you go about doing it? I'm referring to the official procedure and all involved. Does anyone hereabouts know?

Kaptain K
2004-Aug-27, 05:04 AM
In a nutshell: The naming rights belong to the discoverer, with approval of the IAU (no profanity, etc.).

AK
2004-Aug-27, 10:56 AM
How are minor planets named? (http://cfa-www.harvard.edu/iau/info/HowNamed.html)

Excelsior
2004-Aug-27, 11:12 AM
I like the names of the early asteroids like Ceres, Juno, Vesta etc. They are so cool, much better than a letter and a number.

ngc3314
2004-Aug-27, 12:47 PM
I like the names of the early asteroids like Ceres, Juno, Vesta etc. They are so cool, much better than a letter and a number.

Well, sure, there seemed like plenty of increasingly obscure classical divinities to go around, but after the first thousand or two the rules were relaxed. So it became possible to name them for (other) astronomers, an honorable practice which continues to this day. Then there were funding agencies (Geographos), musicians (Harrison, McCartney, Lennon, Starr, and Zappafrank, the latter not to be confused with the Zappa named for an astronomer), and household pets (Spock, named after the discoverer's cat to make a point - which it did, since IIRC the IAU therafter disallowed such behavior). I await with some trepidation the day someone of the younger generation gives us "the asteroid formerly known as Prince".