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50 years of 'Caelumnoctu'

Last Updated on Thursday, 29 April 2010 15:05
Published on Wednesday, 25 April 2007 00:00
 Probably the RAS’s best-known member,  Sir Patrick Moore, threw a party at his house  in Selsey, West Sussex, on April 24 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 'Sky at Night'. 

Party-goers included astronomers, broadcasters and celebrities, including  yet another rock legend, Bill Wyman of the Rolling Stones. 

Compèred by British-born astronaut Piers Sellers, the party was video-recorded for broadcast on BBC-TV on May 6, to be preceded by a tribute programme from people who acknowledge Patrick’s influence on their interest in astronomy and science (  including Adam Hart-Davis  promising a series on ‘What Patrick Moore has done for us’!).  

Professor  Iwan Williams of QMUL (past-president of IAU Division III on Planetary Sciences) presented a certificate recording  the new name of asteroid 57424* - ‘Caelumnoctu’  (which, apparently, is ‘Sky at Night’ in Latin). 

‘Moore’ was taken long ago for Minor Planet 2602 .

*The asteroid Caelumnoctu was discovered by the LINEAR programme at Socorro in 2001 and is a ‘Centaur’, an asteroid from the Kuiper Belt, orbiting between Jupiter and Neptune.