Tuesday 17 December 2013

Star Gayzing - Out Of This World : Part 4

Here is my next list of asteroids named after members of the lgbt community. These asteroids were all discovered between 1981 and 1985.
Eddington (2761)      Discovered 1 Jan. 1981. Named after  British astrophysicist Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington (1882-1944). His observations of the solar eclipse on 29 May 1919 proved Einstein’s theory that gravity bends light. A crater on the Moon is also named after him.
Leonardo (3000)        Discovered 2 Mar. 1981. Name published 29 Sept. 1985. “Named for Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519), Italian painter, sculptor, architect, musician, engineer and natural philosopher.”
Florence (3122)         Discovered 2 Mar. 1981. Name published 6 Apr. 1993.Named in memory of Florence Nightingale (1820-1910), English nurse and hospital reformer, who almost single-handedly established trained nursing as an honourable profession for women. She transformed the English field hospitals during the Crimean War ... Florence Nightingale is most remembered as The Lady of the Lamp for her courage, compassion and devotion to the injured troops as she visited the hospital wards...” Florence, actually, did NOT establish “trained nursing as an honourable profession for women”. She resisted all attempts to turn nursing into a “profession” and certainly not a paid one. Her sexuality is hotly debated.
Proust (4474)             Discovered 24 Aug. 1981. Name published 10 Nov. 1992. “Named in honour of Dominique Proust, astrophysicist at the Meudon Observatory who works on observational cosmology... The name of this minor planet also honours the French writer Marcel Proust.”
Randi (3163)              Discovered 28 Aug. 1981. Name published 3 May 1996. “Named in honour of the American magician James Randi (b.1928) for his continuing efforts in debunking the claims of the paranormal community and exposing the tricks that charlatans use. His use of scientific techniques in many disciplines has contributed to the refutation of suspicious and fraudulent claims of paranormal results...” Randi came out at the age of 82.
Michelangelo (3001)             Discovered 24 Jan. 1982. Name published 29 Sept 1985. “Named for Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475-1564), Italian artist.”
Orpheus (3361)         Discovered 24 Apr. 1982. Name published 16 Dec 1986. “Named for the poet and musician of Greek mythology who almost rescued his wife Eurydice from Hades...” After losing his wife Orpheus abandoned female love and spent the rest of his life chasing boys. For this the local women beat and tore him to pieces. His spirit was reunited with Eurydice in Hades. This asteroid’s orbit crosses our own and is seen as a Potentially Hazardous Asteroid (i.e. one day it might hit us!)
Tsvetaeva (3511)      Discovered 14 Oct. 1982. Name published 31 May 1988. “Named in honour of Marina Ivanovna Tsvetaeva (1892-1941), talented Soviet poetess.”
Ride (4763)                Discovered 22 Jan. 1983. Name published 18 Feb 1992. “Named in honour of Sally K. Ride, the first American woman to fly in space. From 1978 to 1987 Ride was a Space Shuttle astronaut, flying on two missions that launched scientific satellites... Ride is currently professor of physics and director of the California Space Institute at the University of California...” On Sally’s death in 2012 her partner revealed she was a lesbian, making Sally the only known lgbt astronaut.
Britten (4079)                        Discovered 15 Feb. 1983. Name Published 8 July 1990. “Named for Benjamin Britten (1913-1976), English composer. Best known for his operas and other vocal music, Lord Britten was also an accomplished pianist and conductor. His music is imbued with a rare beauty of line and limpidity of texture.” LGBT History Month UK in 2014 is themed around music in celebration of the centenary of Britten’s birth in 2013, and inspired the main theme of this blog for 2014.
Bernstein (4476)       Discovered 19 Feb 1983. Name published 2 Dec. 1990. “Named in memory of Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990), American composer, conductor, pianist, educator, and author. A colourful, multifaceted musician, Bernstein wrote music in many forms: … including ‘West Side Story’, an innovative recasting of ‘Romeo and Juliet’…”.
Tippett (4081)                        Discovered 14 Sept. 1983. Name published 8 July 1990. “Named for Sir Michael Tippett (b.1905), English composer. Tippett’s music, particularly that for voice, is marked by a compassionate humanity.” Sir Michael Tippett died in 1998.
Pollack (5226)            Discovered  28 Nov. 1983. Published 12 July 1995. “Named in memory of James B. Pollack (1938-1994), a planetary scientist who spent much of his career at the NASA Ames Research Center. He was a world leader in the study of planetary atmospheres ... He played major roles in many NASA flight missions ... Work on the effects on the earth’s atmosphere and surface biology … led Pollack and others to the concept of ‘nuclear winter’…”
Dionysus (3671)        Discovered 27 May 1984. Name published 2 Feb. 1988. “Originating in Thrace, where he was revered as a god of wine, the cult of Dionysius spread gradually through Greece. Dionysius became, in turn, the god of vegetation, pleasure, civilization, and ultimately a kind of supreme god and a symbol of rebirth or everlasting life...” Dionysus was a god of male and female sexualities, a male cross-dresser, who had several young male lovers.
Casanova (7328)       Discovered 20 Sept. 1984. Name published 24 Jan. 2000. “Giovanni Giacomo Casanova (1725-1798) was a writer, spy and diplomat, the prince of Italian adventurers. His autobiography ‘Histoire de ma vie’ established his reputation as an archetypal seducer of women...” He was also known to have seduced a few men!
Copland (4532)          Discovered 15 Apr. 1985. Name published 28 Apr. 1991. “Named in memory of American composer Aaron Copland (1900-1990)… Most of his later compositions make inimitable use of American folks tunes and jazz melodies. Copland's quintessential ballet scores ‘Billy the Kid’, ‘Rodeo’ and ‘Appalachian Spring’ have long been concert-hall staples, and his ‘Fanfare for the Common Man’ … represents one of the world's most recognizable melodies...”

Asteroids that are not named after lgbt people but have lgbt links.
Ötzi (5803)                 Discovered 21 July 1984. Name published 23 May 2000. “Ötzi, or Iceman, is a popular name for a prehistoric man of the late Stone Age. His mummified body was found on the Similaun Glacier in the Tirolean Ötztal Alps, on the Italian-Austrian border in 1991.” He was subject of one of my articles in April 2013.

An Intriguing possibility in 2014 : Under the current naming procedure for asteroids I’m expecting a unique event to occur in the New Year – 2 brothers, both students, one of them gay, will have had asteroids named after them. More news soon.

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