Sonoma State gets its own asteroid

An asteroid located between Jupiter and Mars has been named after Sonoma State University.

The 3.1-kilometer asteroid — about two miles — was discovered in 1998 by Larry Wasserman, an astronomer at the Lowell Observatory’s Near-Earth Object Search at the Anderson Mesa Station in Arizona, Dr. Lynn Cominsky, professor and chair of SSU’s Department of Physics & Astronomy said.

Wasserman gets to name the asteroid, and SSU Professor Emeritus Joseph S. Tenn suggested he name it after Sonoma State University because of its nationally recognized Education and Public Outreach Program for space missions and STEM teacher education.

SSU physics students also built and launched a small cube satellite named T-LogoQube in 2013, which operated successfully from orbit.

SSU found out about a week ago from the International Astronomical Union that Wasserman named the asteroid 25164 Sonomastate. The IAU is recognized by the world’s astronomers as the sole authority for naming stars, asteroids and planets.

Cominsky said:

“We are just very flattered Professor Tenn agreed to suggest Larry Wasserman name the asteroid after SSU. … I think it’s incredibly exciting that Sonoma State’s contributions to space science are being recognized by this naming.”

Asteroid 25164 orbits the sun every 3.6 years.