University of Victoria Gets Its Place Among The Stars

May 31, 2007

Looking for directions to UVic? No sweat. Hop on a space shuttle and head for the middle of an asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. A mere 416 million km from Earth you’ll find a 3.5-km chunk of rock hurtling away from the sun. Welcome to UVic.

That’s the new official name of an asteroid discovered by Dave Balam, a research associate in the University of Victoria’s Department of Physics and Astronomy. The name was published today in the Minor Planet Circulars of the International Astronomical Union, which formally approves and registers newly discovered celestial objects.

Balam “accidentally” discovered the asteroid in 1996 while using the telescope at the National Research Council of Canada in Saanich to track near-Earth comets and asteroids. “At the time, the object was more than 200,000 times fainter than the faintest star that can be seen by the human eye on a dark night, and then it faded rapidly,” says Balam.

It took 11 years to calculate and confirm the asteroid’s orbital path before Balam was able to exercise his naming rights. “Good things take a lot of time,” he says, “and so I felt that the most fitting name should be UVic in honour of the institution where I’ve worked for more than 30 years.”

UVic is the ninth Canadian university to be immortalized in the heavens, and the first one in British Columbia.

More properly known as (150145) UVic, the asteroid orbits the sun every 5.43 years and is currently in the constellation of Leo. It will emerge from behind the sun in May 2008 when it will be 332 million km from Earth.

Source: University of Victoria

Explore further: Aboriginal legends an untapped record of natural history written in the stars

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Study characterizes genetic resistance to wheat disease

52 minutes ago

A new study co-authored by University of Nebraska-Lincoln researchers has unearthed the genetic roots of resistance to a wheat disease that has recently devastated crop yields from southern Africa through ...

Linguists tackle computational analysis of grammar

52 minutes ago

Children don't have to be told that "cat" and "cats" are variants of the same word—they pick it up just by listening. To a computer, though, they're as different as, well, cats and dogs. Yet it's computers ...

Recommended for you

Far from home: Wayward cluster is both tiny and distant

4 hours ago

Like the lost little puppy that wanders too far from home, astronomers have found an unusually small and distant group of stars that seems oddly out of place. The cluster, made of only a handful of stars, ...

An old-looking galaxy in a young universe

Mar 02, 2015

A team of astronomers, led by Darach Watson, from the University of Copenhagen used the Very Large Telescope's X-shooter instrument along with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) to observe ...

Giant methane storms on Uranus

Mar 02, 2015

Most of the times we have looked at Uranus, it has seemed to be a relatively calm place. Well, yes its atmosphere is the coldest place in the solar system. But, when we picture the seventh planet in our ...

Where do stars form in merging galaxies?

Mar 02, 2015

Collisions between galaxies, and even less dramatic gravitational encounters between them, are recognized as triggering star formation. Observations of luminous galaxies, powered by starbursts, are consistent ...

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.