Wednesday, 5 October 2011

When you wish upon a star...

The joys of googling….

You might find a comet (or at least an asteroid) with your name.

Well, maybe not your full name, but your last name at least…

So it was with yours truly on a sodden afternoon last month. I put in ‘Eicher’ and ‘Wikipedia’ and hey presto – asteroid Eicher appears!

A bit of searching around tells me that the asteroid was discovered by a Brian A Skiff – a chappie who by the looks of it has discovered like a whole barrel-full of celestial rocks.

The object that he named ‘Eicher’ was discovered on the 2nd of June 1984.

1984. I was a ripe 15-year old then. We visited the US as a family that year. I managed to snag a learner’s licence from the driving authorities in Florida where my grandparents lived at that time. That ‘umble piece of plastic eventually morphed into my driver’s license here in good old Bharat – don’t ask me how.

But back to the asteroid. The bit of rock that orbits the sun which was given the proud name of Eicher can be seen at the NASA site: here Here is a picture of where it was on Sept. 15th this year.

The orbiting rock was named after David J. Eicher – an avid astronomer who seems to have poured his life into encouraging others to peer into the night skies through the Deep Sky Magazine he founded as well as being the editor-in-chief of Astronomy Magazine.

A quick search (google of course) shows that D.J. Eicher seems to be a minor polymath and has published widely on the history of the US Civil War.

Somewhere between Mars and Jupital a celestial object - named 3167 Eicher - is orbiting around the sun.

The universe is full of wonders.

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