UCAR > Communications > Staff Notes Monthly > October 2000 Search

Welcome to Staff Notes Monthly

Volume 35, Number 10 -- October 2000

In this issue

Other issues of Staff Notes Monthly

Just One Look

A newly named asteroid, 10938=lorenzalevy, is making its way around the solar system. SOARS protégé Lorenza Levy spotted the rocky object on 19 September 1999, but she didn't learn that it was indeed a new discovery until she returned to Flagstaff this summer from Boulder to start her senior year at Northern Arizona University. Lori, who's majoring in physics and astronomy, has logged over 100 hours on the 59- centimeter (23-inch) Schmidt telescope as a student observer with the Lowell Observatory Near Earth Objects Search program. "There are about 30 programs searching for asteroids and comets," says Lori, so it's a race to report new discoveries to the Minor Planet Center at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. Then, the new object "has to be spotted multiple times to establish the orbit and verify its existence." Lori's find was made official in July, while she was in Boulder. Since the asteroid needed a designation immediately, Edward Bowell, her supervisor at Lowell, named it for Lori but waited till she was back in Flagstaff to tell her the news in person. This isn't Lori's asteroid pictured, but 951=Gaspra (top), approximately 17 kilometers (10 miles) long, is in the same size range. Like Gaspra, 10938=lorenzalevy inhabits the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. More precisely, it's located at about 3.22 astronomical units, or three times as far from the sun as we are. At its broadest it's between 13 and 27 km (8–17 mi) across. Right now, 10938=lorenzalevy is behind the sun, but "it'll come out in a few months," Lori says, "and I'll be able to see it. . . . I'm very excited that all my long, sleepless hours at the telescope paid off. Now, I've just gotta get my comet." (Lorenza Levy photo by Carlye Calvin; asteroid photo courtesy NASA/JPL.)

• ZG

About this publication

Writer/editor: Bob Henson
Copy editor: Zhenya Gallon
Design: Michael Shibao
Printing: CG Press
Print distribution: Milli Butterworth
Electronic distribution: Jacque Marshall
Photography: Carlye Calvin, NCAR Imaging & Design Center

Unless otherwise noted all images are copyrighted by the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research / National Center for Atmospheric Research / National Science Foundation.


Edited by Bob Henson, bhenson@ucar.edu
Prepared for the Web by Jacque Marshall
Last revised: Tue Sep 26 12:38:56 MDT 2000