Last week the Committee on Small Body Nomenclature of the International Astronomical Union approved the name “7307 Takei” for the asteroid previously labeled “1994 GT9.” The Takei reference will be used in the scientific community to identify this minor body from now on, presumably forever. Only about 14,000 asteroids have been named after specific people, out of about 400,000 such bodies known to exist.
“I am honored, indeed transported to the galaxies, to know that my name has been assigned to an astronomical object in our solar system,” Takei said. “I am yet to come down to Earth.”
Asteroid 7307 Takei is approximately 5 miles in diameter, located in an orbit ranging between 2.5 and 3.0 AUs from the Sun in the mid-solar system asteroid belt (an AU is the distance from the Sun to the Earth). It was discovered in 1994 by two Japanese astronomers.
The name was suggested by Tom H. Burbine, a Massachusetts astronomer, who cited Takei’s work with the Japanese American Citizens League and the Human Rights Campaign, as well as his celebrity.
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