Asteroid Romero

Asteroid number 13703 was renamed for Oscar Romero. An interesting quote from Rome Reports:

The humble Romero has now received another unique distinction: a small planet has been named after him. (Although it may actually be an asteroid, because it’s exact the classification hasn’t been determined.)Euler_diagram_of_solar_system_bodies_svg

“Minor planet” is the scientific term. I suspect “small planet” is some kind of mistranslation. Celestial body #13703 has always been accepted as what is commonly known as an “asteroid.” That term isn’t terribly accurate as the root word “aster” refers to a star.

I suppose it is possible 13703 Romero is a comet. But we won’t know for sure until someone visits and determines if it consists of ice rather than rock.

One doesn’t have to be a saint to be a religious figure with a name attached to a minor planet. Check here, but before you do, see if you can guess the first (and so far only) pope so honored.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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6 Responses to Asteroid Romero

  1. Devin says:

    John XXIII or Leo III?

    • Devin says:

      Wrong, but there is not a whole lot of diversity in religious geography.

    • Liam says:

      Leo III (the Pope, not the iconoclast Eastern Roman Emperor, I assume) would have been a most curious choice. Maybe Leo XIII as the re-founder of the Vatican Observatory?

      Urban VIII would have been a mordant choice.

      Gregory XIII might have been an obvious choice.

      The most gob-smacking omission on that list (which may be a function of the list maker) to me is: Dante Alighieri.

      L’amor che move: i sole e l’altre stelle.

      • Todd says:

        They must consider him a figure of literature. He has #2999.

      • Devin Rice says:

        I meant Leo XIII.

      • Liam says:

        Ah, I saw Beatrice on the linked list, and the omission of Dante was curious to say the least. The Divine Comedy may have served to spark more interest in astronomy than any other pre-Industrial work of poetry or fiction.

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