The name that graces some of the world's top research,
educational and medical institutions has
a new place in space.
The International Astronomical Union approved the name
"21619 Johnshopkins" for the asteroid
once known as 1999 JN136, honoring the 19th-century
Maryland entrepreneur and philanthropist
whose bequest established The Johns Hopkins University and
The Johns Hopkins Hospital. Scientists
announced the designation last week at the international
Asteroids, Comets and Meteors meeting in
Baltimore, hosted by the
JHU Applied Physics Laboratory.
"This is a terrific honor, recognizing the many
contributions that Johns Hopkins University men
and women have made to humanity's knowledge of the world,
the solar system and the universe. We
really appreciate it," said President William R. Brody. "In our first 14
decades, we've grown far beyond
Baltimore to include campuses around the world. We've
designed, built and operated satellites in outer
space. But an asteroid brings a whole new meaning to our
Asteroid Johnshopkins is about 2 to 4 miles wide and
orbits the sun in the main asteroid belt
between Mars and Jupiter. It's currently more than 290
million miles from Earth, and you'd need a
powerful telescope to even glimpse it.
The asteroid joins a collection of natural objects
— at home and in the heavens — named for Johns
Hopkins institutions and people. Johns Hopkins Glacier is
in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve,
Alaska, near Johns Hopkins Inlet. An asteroid is named for
APL, and a constellation of seven asteroids
bears the names of Applied Physics Lab researchers who
worked on the historic
Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous, the first mission to
orbit and land on an asteroid.
Ted Bowell, whose team at Lowell Observatory in
Flagstaff, Ariz., discovered asteroid JN136 in
May 1999, proposed the new moniker.
To track the asteroid through space, go to: