Nuno Bixenioastrophysicist, University of Coimbra (UC) and the Institute of Astrophysics and Space Sciences (UC).he is), and now an asteroid is named after him. The honor came from the Working Group for the Nomenclature of Small Bodies (WGSBN(from the International Astronomical Union)I take). or an asteroid, previously identified by (40210) 1998 SL56, (40210) Peixinho.
Discovered on September 16, 1998, this asteroid is more than 10 km in diameter, belongs to the asteroid belt and orbits the Sun at an average distance of 3 times the distance from the Earth to the Sun, and completes an orbit in about 5 or 3 years.
For Peixinho, who works on the physical and chemical characterization of small bodies in the Solar System, owning an asteroid that bears his name “is a feeling that is hard to describe. Of course, I feel infinitely proud by this recognition of my work as an astrophysicist. Work that has not been done alone, but It’s always been incorporated into teams, and for that I thank everyone.” The scholar would like to thank this distinction not only to the University of Coimbra which now hosts it, but also to the universities of Porto, Lisbon, Granada, Hawaii and Antofagasta, as well as to the Paris Observatory and the institutions in which he worked all along. his professional life.
The (40210) Peixinho is the type of asteroid that, if approached by Earth, could cause a mass extinction. “Knowing that there is now an asteroid in space of the same size as that which, most likely, when it collided with Earth 66 million years ago led to the mass extinction of the Cretaceous and Paleogene, which includes the famous dinosaurs … I am speechless,” Peixinho comments.
Because of the potential danger, a researcher at the University of Coimbra do IA “checked close to its orbit to see if it’s an asteroid classified as potentially dangerous. No! A hundred million years from now, it still has to walk more or less in the same place.” But I don’t know if I will be able to convince my grandfather of that.”
a naming One of these bodies goes through a long process. It is initially given a temporary designation according to a well-defined formula that includes the year of discovery, two letters and, if necessary, other numbers (eg 1989 BC or 2002 LM60). When its orbit is well enough defined, the object receives a permanent designation, which consists in adding a number to the temporary designation, issued sequentially by the “centre of the small planet” – eg (341), or (40210).
Its discoverer is then invited to suggest a name that enjoys this privilege for ten years after the object is numbered. All proposed names are evaluated by the Small Entity Nomenclature Working Group. There are just over a million small objects in the Solar System cataloged, and about half a million actually have permanent designations, but only 22505 have names.
The list of scholars awarded by the IAU is now available Here