Indian Prof Jayant Murthy honored with asteroid name


An asteroid has been named after Indian Professor and distinguished scientist Jayant Murthy. He is known for his work in space missions, ultraviolet astronomy, and interstellar medium. Previously cataloged as 2005 EX296, the asteroid has now been designated as (215884) Jayantmurthy. 

The announcement was made by the International Astronomical Union (IAU)’s Working Group, the authority responsible for naming small objects in the Solar System, India Today reported. 

MW Buie discovered the asteroid (215884) Jayantmurthy in 2005 at the Kitt Peak National Observatory in Arizona, USA. It completed a full orbit of the Sun between Mars and Jupiter every 3.3 years.

NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft captured global attention by providing previously unheard-of views and data of the dwarf planet and its moons with its historic flyby of Pluto in 2015.

Who is Professor Jayant Murthy? 

In 2021, Prof Murthy retired from the Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA). Since then, he has served as an Honorary Professor. He was also the acting Director of IIA from July 2018 to October 2019. 

Prof Murthy was involved with NASA’s New Horizons Science Team whose observations of UV background radiation have been essential in helping us understand more about cosmic phenomena.

About studying the ultraviolet background radiation far out in the Solar System, where interference from the Sun and interplanetary medium is minimal, Prof Murthy’s invaluable contributions to the New Horizons mission are recognized by the asteroid’s name.

Expressing gratitude over renaming asteroid, Prof Murthy said, as quoted by India Today, “I am thrilled to have an asteroid named after me, in connection with my work on the New Horizons team, led by Dr. Alan Stern.”

IIA Director Prof Annapurni Subramaniam hailed the honor as a unique acknowledgment the global impact of Prof Murthy’s research. 

She pointed out that Professor Murthy has joined a distinguished cohort of IIA faculty members, which also includes Professors MK Vainu Bappu and JC Bhattacharyya, both of whom have had asteroids named after them.

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Published: 22 Mar 2024, 05:13 PM IST


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