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Indian Scientist Prof Jayant Murthy Honoured with Asteroid Name

The International Astronomical Union (IAU), a global organization responsible for naming celestial objects, has bestowed a rare honour upon an Indian scientist. Professor Jayant Murthy, an esteemed astrophysicist, has been recognized for his remarkable contributions to the field by having an asteroid named after him – (215884) Jayantmurthy.

Asteroid (215884) Jayantmurthy

Originally discovered in 2005 by MW Buie at the Kitt Peak National Observatory in Arizona, USA, and previously known as 2005 EX296, this asteroid orbits the Sun between Mars and Jupiter every 3.3 years. Its new name, (215884) Jayantmurthy, will forever carry the rich legacy of the Indian scientist.

A Stellar Career

Professor Murthy concluded his tenure at the Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA) in 2021, where he served as the acting director from July 2018 to October 2019. He currently holds the position of Honorary Professor at the prestigious institute.

Pioneering Contributions

Professor Murthy’s scholarly achievements have significantly enhanced our understanding of the universe. His work on the interstellar medium, ultraviolet astronomy, and space missions has been widely acclaimed.

One of his most notable contributions has been his involvement with NASA’s New Horizons Science Team. This team’s endeavors to observe ultraviolet background radiation in the outer reaches of the Solar System, where the influence of the Sun and interplanetary medium is minimal, have played a crucial role in broadening our understanding of cosmic phenomena.

New Horizons Mission

Launched by NASA, the New Horizons mission captured global attention with its historic flyby of Pluto in 2015, delivering unprecedented insights and data about the dwarf planet and its satellites. Professor Murthy’s invaluable contributions to this mission have been instrumental in advancing our knowledge of the universe.

A Rare Honor

Annapurni Subramaniam, the current director of IIA, termed the asteroid naming “a very rare honor.” Professor Murthy joins the ranks of previous IIA directors MK Vainu Bappu and JC Bhattacharyya, who have also had asteroids named after them, further solidifying the institute’s reputation for excellence in astronomical research.

The naming of (215884) Jayantmurthy serves as a testament to Professor Murthy’s outstanding contributions and serves as an inspiration for future generations of scientists to push the boundaries of human knowledge and exploration.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams

  • International Astronomical Union President: Debra Elmegreen;
  • International Astronomical Union Headquarters: Paris, France;
  • International Astronomical Union Founded: 28 July 1919;
  • International Astronomical Union General Secretary: Piero Benvenuti.

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