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Elie Wiesel Gets a Place in the Firmament

Newly discovered asteroid named for Nobel laureate

| From Digest | By Nicole Rojas (CAS’12)

Elie Wiesel. Photo by Fred Sway

Last spring, a minor planet—also known as an asteroid— discovered by an amateur astronomer was named “Eliewiesel” in honor of 1986 Nobel Peace Prize laureate and Boston University Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities Elie Wiesel (Hon.’74).

R. E. Jones, of Santa Clarita Valley, Calif., discovered the two-mile-diameter minor planet in August 2004 from the small Francisquito Observatory. Jones, who provides catalogue information for NASA on potentially dangerous asteroids, was making photographic measurements of another near-Earth asteroid when he spotted the minor planet in his photographs.

After six years of constant observation by professional observatories, Solar System object 2004PC27 was confirmed, and Jones was given the opportunity to name his discovery.

Jones chose the name, he says, because he admires Wiesel’s humanitarian work, especially against genocide.

The Committee on Small Body Nomenclature of the International Astronomical Union officially approved the name “Eliewiesel” last May.

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