11780 Thunder Bay: IAU Announced The New Name For '1942 TB' Asteroid

First Posted: Feb 20, 2017 05:02 AM EST

The International Astronomical Union (IAU) organized a NameExoWorlds contest back in 2015, in order to encourage public involvement in astronomical missions and discoveries. The contest provided an opportunity to the amateur astronomers and general public to propose names for exoplanets and their stars. The winners of the contest were rewarded with the opportunity to name minor planets of the Solar System.

As a part of the contest, the IAU approved the proposed names for 14 distant stars and 31 exoplanets orbiting around them. The new approved names were chosen on the basis of public voting and once finalized, they became official designations.

According to a recent press release published on SpaceRef, the IAU's Division F Working Group Small Bodies Nomenclature (SBN) approved the newly proposed names of 17 more minor planets. As per the contest regulations, these names were suggested by the winners of the NameExoWorlds contest.

One of the renamed planets is the "1942 TB" planet (asteroid) present in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. The planet that was originally discovered on Oct. 3, 1942 by Liisi Oterma, the first female Finnish astronomer, just got renamed to "11780 Thunder Bay," Top Examiner reported.

The 11780 Thunder Bay name was proposed by Thunder Bay Center of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. It had won the contest by successfully naming a star and its orbiting planet in the Andromeda constellation, as Veirtate (Truth) and Spe (Hope), The Chronicle Journal reported.

Brendon Roy, president of the center, made an official announcement regarding the newly approved name and said, "We are delighted that the (International Astronomical Union) has chosen to recognize the volunteers of our center who work to bring astronomy to the citizens of Thunder Bay."

Keith Hobbs, Mayor of the Thunder Bay City, congratulated Thunder Bay Center of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada and expressed his happiness on the city being recognized in outer space. On a lighter note, he said, "maybe it will come hurtling down at city hall and put us all out of our misery at budget time."

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