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Asteroid Named After Astronomy Professor At Danbury's WestConn

An asteroid was recently named in honor of a former astronomy professor at Western Connecticut State University.
An asteroid was recently named in honor of a former astronomy professor at Western Connecticut State University. Photo Credit: File

DANBURY, Conn. -- A newly discovered asteroid has been named after a retired astronomy professor from Danbury's Western Connecticut State University, according to the Hartford Courant.

Dr. Phillip Lu got to know Dr. H.C. Lin, the astronomer who discovered the asteroid in 2006, during his trips to Taiwan. Lu was helping to develop the astronomy program at the National Central University. During his time there, Lu became the thesis adviser for W.S. Tsay, who in turn became a teacher for Lin, the Hartford Courant reported.

After successfully mapping the orbit of the asteroid, Lin was given the opportunity to name the celestial body. He chose "175450 Phillipklu" in honor of his teacher's teacher, the Hartford Courant said.

Lu taught at WestConn for 29 years from 1970 to 1999, according to a press release. In 1992, he was named CSU Professor of Astronomy by the Connecticut State University System.

The newly named 175450 Phillipklu, which travels an elliptical orbit that averages about 238 million miles from the sun, can be seen only with a 40-inch or larger telescope.

The minor planet was first observed in 2002, and was tracked several times through its last sighting on Oct. 1, 2014. The name was officially attached on Oct. 9, two days before Lu turned 82.

The rock orbits the sun every 3.91 years between Mars and Jupiter and is 59,604 times dimmer than the sun.

Despite its new notoriety, Lu, in a press release, said, "You aren't missing anything if you don't see it."

Lu, who lives in Bethel, continues to conduct research, and he paints and writes poetry. His latest poetry collection is titled "An Abridged Portrait - Biography."

Click here to read the full article in the Courant.

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