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George Plimpton in orbit

posted by Ainsley Drew   Oct 07, 2009

From an article in The Boston Globe by Samuel Arbesman, about his quest to name an asteroid after author George Plimpton:

There is a whole group of asteroids named after rock stars. Each member of Rush has a minor planet. Fantasia, Hammurabi, and Jerrylewis are all out there. While Goldfinger is not named after the Bond film (it’s named after an astronomer), Vespa is named after the motor scooter. Here is where we find the asteroid named Qwerty, and even an asteroid named ASCII.

While the author was on his mission to get Mr. Plimpton’s name on a piece of space real estate, he discovered some of the intricacies of naming objects up there. For example, the moons of Uranus have all been named after characters from works by Shakespeare and Alexander Pope. Also, those “name a star” advertisements on the radio are bunk. Although you get a certificate claiming your star has been named, the monikers aren’t recognized by the International Astronomical Union, the one organization that has authority in the matter.

You can look up tributes to George Plimpton on the Plimpton Project. To locate 7932 Plimpton, look up.

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