Tuesday, July 10, 2012

(40463) Frankkameny = 1999 RE44

It's official:  Frank Kameny has been immortalized with an asteroid name.  Doc Kinne had an important role in this, and writes about how it happend on his blog.

You can see the official listing at the Minor Planet Center here.

The full citation in Minor Planets Circular 79911 reads:

(40463) Frankkameny = 1999 RE44

Discovered 1999 Sept. 15 by G. W. Billings at Calgary.

Frank L. Kameny (1925–2011) trained as a variable star astronomer in the 1950s, but joined the Civil Rights struggle. His contributions included removing homosexuality from being termed a mental disorder in 1973 and shepherding passage of the District of Columbia marriage equality law in 2009.
The AP has an article out today on the topic, which has been picked up widely.

The orbital elements of (40463) Frankkameny are:

ω: 30.53112 degrees
Ω : 303.00744 degrees
i: 2.45353 degrees
e: 0.1807671
a: 2.7788741 AU
M: 316.98943 degrees (epoch 30 Sep 2012 (midnight UT, presumably))