Asteroid named after sci-fi's Alejandro Jodorowsky

Sep 03, 2013
Alejandro Jodorowsky, pictured in Guadalajara, Mexico, on November 28, 2011. A large asteroid has been named after the cult Franco-Chilean film-maker and science-fiction comics writer who later became a spiritual guru.

A large asteroid has been named after Alejandro Jodorowsky, the cult Franco-Chilean film-maker and science-fiction comics writer who later became a spiritual guru.

The Minor Planets Center, a branch of the International Astronomical Union (IAU), has listed asteroid 261690 Jodorowsky at the request of a French astronomer who spotted the five-kilometre (three-mile) -wide object more than seven years ago.

The discoverer is Jean-Claude Merlin, who has several other "minor planets," as large asteroids are called, on his list of sightings.

"I detected it on the evening of Christmas Eve in 2005, using an 80-centimetre (32-inch) telescope in Arizona that I direct over the Internet from my home," Merlin was quoted on Tuesday as saying in a press release by Les Humanoides Associes, Jodorowsky's French publishing house.

Several years of observation are needed to confirm a discovery and calculate its orbit, enabling it to be enshrined in the IAU's list.

A special panel, the Committee on Small Body Nomenclature, is in charge of approving names. Approval came on July 24.

Jodorowsky, 84, leapt to prominence in 1970 with an offbeat "acid western" movie called "El Topo", which was followed in 1973 by a surrealist film, "The Holy Mountain".

Both became popular on the underground film circuit in the United States.

In France, he found success in the 1980s with science-fiction comic books, including a series called "The Incal", illustrated by French artist Moebius.

Jodorowsky, based in Paris, also writes and talks about his own spiritual beliefs, which he calls psycho-shamanism, whose influences include tarot cards, alchemy and Zen Buddhism.

Hundreds of asteroids have been named after human beings, rather than characters in fiction or Greek and Roman mythology.

Astronomers, physicists, mathematicians, politicians, philosophers and teachers are among those who have been given this honour.

"Artistic" asteroids include 2362 Mark Twain, 2675 Tolkien, 8749 Beatles, 7934 Sinatra and 13070 Seanconnery.

261690 Jodorowsky orbits in the main belt between Mars and Jupiter, at an average distance of 470 million kilometres (293 million miles) from the Sun, the press release said.

Explore further: Elon Musk's SpaceX drops lawsuit against Air Force

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Three centaurs follow Uranus through the solar system

Jun 18, 2013

Astrophysicists from the Complutense University of Madrid have confirmed that Crantor, a large asteroid with a diameter of 70 km has an orbit similar to that of Uranus and takes the same amount of time to ...

Time for Europe to beef up asteroid vigilance, ESA says

Feb 21, 2013

Europe must strengthen its watch for dangerous space rocks, the head of the European Space Agency's asteroid surveillance programme said Thursday, a week after a meteor struck Russia in a blinding fireball.

Recommended for you

NASA craft set to beam home close-ups of Pluto

4 hours ago

Nine years after leaving Earth, the New Horizons spacecraft is at last drawing close to Pluto and on Sunday was expected to start shooting photographs of the dwarf planet.

Elon Musk's SpaceX drops lawsuit against Air Force

14 hours ago

A spacecraft company run by billionaire Elon Musk has dropped a lawsuit alleging the U.S. Air Force improperly awarded a contract to launch military satellites to a joint venture between Boeing and Lockheed ...

NASA spacecraft almost to Pluto: Smile for the camera!

Jan 23, 2015

It's showtime for Pluto. NASA's New Horizons spacecraft has traveled 3 billion miles and is nearing the end of its nine-year journey to Pluto. Sunday, it begins photographing the mysterious, unexplored, icy ...

Gullies on Vesta suggest past water-mobilized flows

Jan 23, 2015

(Phys.org)—Protoplanet Vesta, visited by NASA's Dawn spacecraft from 2011 to 2013, was once thought to be completely dry, incapable of retaining water because of the low temperatures and pressures at its ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.