Sunday, June 14, 2009
THE GREAT LAKES PLANETARIUM ASSOCIATION (GLPA) announced in their Summer Solstice newsletter (Volume XLIV, Number 2, 2009) that the asteroid formerly known as 2000 LS36 has now been renamed “Pirko” in honor of Rick. If you go to its JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratory of NASA) web page at http://ssd.jpl.nasa.gov/sbdb.cgi?sstr=22105, you can read its designation, as follows:
"Discovered 2000 June 11 by the Lowell Observatory Near-Earth Object Search at the Anderson Mesa Station.
"Richard G. Pirko (1952-2008) was a producer and space science educator for the Ward Beecher Planetarium at Youngstown State University. An accomplished photographer, pilot and horse trainer, his passion for astronomy exposed many college students to new educational experiences.”
Its absolute magnitude is 14.4 and its orbital period is 3.6 years.
Classification: Main-belt Asteroid [e.g. Asteroids with orbital elements constrained by (2.0 AU < a < 3.2 AU; q > 1.666 AU)] SPK-ID: 2022105
absolute magnitude H 14.4 mag n/a PDS3 (MPO 8964)
Alternate Designations: 2000 LS36 = 1975 VR1 = 1993 UC4 = 1993 VE5 = 2000 WB125
Reference: 20090409/MPCPages.arc Last Updated: 2009-04-10
It is the scribe's understanding that Rob Landis lobbied the people at Lowell Observatory about the re-naming.
At the GLPA meeeting in October, also, President Cheri spoke of the group's deepest heartfelt sorrow for the loss of a great friend, colleague and planetarian, and that he would indeed be missed by their “family.”