IAU names asteroid named after Indian professor, recognizing his contributions to astronomy | Tech News

IAU names asteroid named after Indian professor, recognizing his contributions to astronomy

The International Astronomical Union (IAU) has named an asteroid after esteemed Indian astrophysicist Prof Jayant Murthy, honoring his groundbreaking work in ultraviolet astronomy and space missions.

By: HT TECH
| Updated on: Mar 22 2024, 16:47 IST
Prof Jayant Murthy
Prof Murthy expresses delight at having an asteroid named after him for his work on NASA's New Horizons mission. (IIA)
Prof Jayant Murthy
Prof Murthy expresses delight at having an asteroid named after him for his work on NASA's New Horizons mission. (IIA)

The Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA), Bengaluru, announced on Friday that the International Astronomical Union (IAU) has honored renowned Indian astrophysicist Prof Jayant Murthy by naming an asteroid after him. The asteroid, previously designated as "2005 EX296," has now been officially named "(215884) Jayantmurthy" by the IAU's Working Group on Small Bodies Nomenclature. Positioned between Mars and Jupiter, the asteroid completes one orbit around the Sun every 3.3 years.

Prof Murthy's Contributions to the New Horizons Mission

Prof Murthy, who retired from IIA in 2021 but continues as an Honorary Professor, expressed his joy at the rare recognition. He credited his work with the NASA New Horizons Science Team, particularly focusing on observing the ultraviolet background radiation in the Universe, for this honor. The New Horizons mission, famous for its detailed study of Pluto during its 2015 flyby and subsequent exploration of the Kuiper Belt, has benefited from Prof Murthy's contributions.

Previous IIA Directors with Asteroids Named After Them

His research, centered on measuring the cosmic ultraviolet background, is vital for understanding celestial phenomena. Prof Annapurni Subramaniam, director of IIA, described the naming of the asteroid as "a very rare honor." Prof Murthy now joins the esteemed company of previous IIA directors, Prof MK Vainu Bappu and Prof JC Bhattacharyya, who also have asteroids named after them.

Joice Mathew, a former student of Prof Murthy and currently based at Mt Stromlo Observatory in Australia, praised the recognition as well-deserved. He emphasized the thrill among those familiar with Prof Murthy's work, noting that having an asteroid named after him is an incredible tribute to his contributions to the field of astrophysics.

The naming of "(215884) Jayantmurthy" serves as a testament to Prof Murthy's significant impact on the study of ultraviolet astronomy and space missions, highlighting India's prowess in the field of astrophysics on an international stage.

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First Published Date: 22 Mar, 16:47 IST
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