Leonard Simon Nimoy has been honored with his own asteroid named after him: Asteroid 4864 Nimoy. The asteroid naming is a fitting tribute to the actor best known for his role in Star Trek as the half-human, half-Vulcan science officer Spock. The asteroid named after Leonard Nimoy is classified as a main-belt asteroid, located between Jupiter and Mars. Asteroid 4864 Nimoy is about 10 kilometers across and can be found in almost the same plane as Earth. Nimoy’s asteroid makes a full orbit around the Sun once every 3.9 years, and that orbit is just slightly elliptical.
— Ron Baalke (@RonBaalke) June 4, 2015
In 1988, just before Star Trek: The Next Generation was about to kick off its second season, the asteroid which would one day honor Leonard Nimoy was discovered by Belgian astronomer Henri Debehogne at the European Southern Observatory.
On the NASA page indexing the asteroid named after Nimoy, there is a perfect, short blurb from the Minor Planet Center about the asteroid’s namesake. According to Universe Today, the announcement was made Tuesday.
“Discovered 1988 Sept. 2 by H. Debehogne at the European Southern Observatory. Leonard Nimoy (1931-2015) was an American actor, film director and poet. Best known for his portrayal of the half-Vulcan/half-human science officer Spock in the original “Star Trek” TV series and subsequent movies, Nimoy wrote two autobiographies: I Am Not Spock (1975) and I Am Spock (1995).”
Amateur astrologers might be able to catch a glimpse of Spock‘s asteroid with 14-inch or larger telescopes when it brightens to magnitude 15 in the middle of July.
Leonard Nimoy was born in Massachusetts to Ukrainian Jewish immigrants, Dora (Spinner) and Max Nimoy, according to IMDb. In 1952, Nimoy played Narab, a Martian who became friendly with Earth in a corny foreshadowing of the role that would one day make Leonard Nimoy so loved that Earthlings would choose to name an asteroid after him. Nimoy died this year on February 27 in California from end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease at 83 years old. February 22, before his death, Nimoy shared a perfect last tweet.
A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP
— Leonard Nimoy (@TheRealNimoy) February 23, 2015
Nimoy’s fans are not about to let those memories fade either. Besides the asteroid, Adam Nimoy’s Kickstarter project, a documentary called For The Love Of Spock has already raised almost 200,000 dollars.
— ANOVOS (@ANOVOS) June 6, 2015
Saturday, Adam Nimoy posted about his dad’s new asteroid, may it live long and prosper.
— Adam Nimoy (@adam_nimoy) June 6, 2015
Will you be stargazing this summer in search of Leonard Nimoy’s new asteroid?
[Photo Credit: Stellarium via Universe Today]