Monday, December 11, 2017

UrFU to name two asteroids after faculty, staff members

Ural Federal University announced on Monday that two recently discovered asteroids in the solar system will be named after UrFU faculty members.

The naming ceremony will be conducted by the International Astronomical Union on July 14.

The first asteroid will be called Victor Grokhovsky, after UrFu's chief investigator of the meteorite that fell in Chelyabinsk last year. Grokhovsky was named one of the ten scientists who changed the world in 2014 by the "Nature Journal."

The second asteroid will be named after senior UrFU researcher Maria Gritsevich, who is currently an employee of Moscow State University. Presently, Gritsevich is on a research fellowship in Finland where she is continuing her studies of the dynamics of meteoric phenomena. Gritsevich's asteroid was first observed in Russia, Finland and Norway on April 19 of this year after it passed over the Kola Peninsula.

In 1995, the International Astronomical Union named a minor planet (5781) after prominent Soviet astronomer and UrFU professor Claudia Barkhatova. Barkhatova's planet can be seen by a special telescope installed in UrFU's Kourkova Astronomical Observatory.

Asteroids are small celestial bodies within the solar system that orbit the sun. They are much smaller in mass and size of planets and are often irregular in shape. Unlike planets, asteroids have no atmosphere and often share orbits with other small asteroids. Scientists estimate that there are hundreds of thousands of asteroids in our solar system, of which only a fifth have been named.