Astronomical Union names asteroid 'Jayantmurthy' after Indian scientist

The asteroid, previously catalogued as 2005 EX296, has been officially designated as (215884) Jayantmurthy.
Astronomical Union names asteroid 'Jayantmurthy' after Indian scientist
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The International Astronomical Union (IAU) has named an asteroid after India's Professor Jayant Murthy, a distinguished scientist known for his work on the interstellar medium, ultraviolet astronomy, and space missions.

The asteroid, previously catalogued as 2005 EX296, has been officially designated as (215884) Jayantmurthy. This honour was announced by the IAU's Working Group on Small Bodies Nomenclature, the authority responsible for naming small objects in the Solar System.

Prof Murthy, who retired from the Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA) in 2021 and has since served as an Honorary Professor, was the acting Director of the institute from July 2018 to October 2019.

His research has significantly advanced our understanding of the universe, particularly through his involvement with Nasa's New Horizons Science Team. The team's efforts to observe ultraviolet background radiation have been pivotal in expanding our knowledge of cosmic phenomena.

The asteroid (215884) Jayantmurthy was discovered by MW Buie at the Kitt Peak National Observatory in Arizona, USA, in 2005.

It orbits the Sun between Mars and Jupiter every 3.3 years. The naming of the asteroid recognizes Prof. Murthy's invaluable contributions to the New Horizons mission, which included studying the ultraviolet background radiation far out in the Solar System, where interference from the Sun and interplanetary medium is minimal.

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Astronomical Union names asteroid 'Jayantmurthy' after Indian scientist

New Horizons, launched by Nasa, made headlines worldwide with its historic flyby of Pluto in 2015, offering unprecedented views and data of the dwarf planet and its moons.

Upon hearing the news, Prof. Murthy expressed his excitement and gratitude, highlighting the importance of his work on the cosmic ultraviolet background and its implications for understanding the universe. "“I am thrilled to have an asteroid named after me, in connection with my work on the New Horizons team, led by Dr. Alan Stern," Professor Murthy saif.

Prof. Annapurni Subramaniam, the current Director of IIA, praised the recognition as a rare honour that recognises the global impact of Prof. Murthy's research. She noted that Prof. Murthy joins an esteemed group of IIA faculty, including Prof. MK Vainu Bappu and Prof. JC Bhattacharyya, who have also had asteroids named after them. 

Source: India Today

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