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Over The Horizon

New Zealand Asteroid

Alan Gilmore and Pam Kilmartin

The asteroid spotters at Canterbury University's Mt John Observatory have been successful in naming four asteroids they discovered after locals who have been helpful in their work.

The most recent international Minor Planet Circulars 40700-1 lists the new additions along with the rather brief citations now mandated by the Minor Planet Center. Each asteroid's official number is in brackets, as is the convention; the other number is the asteroid's provisional designation beginning with the year of discovery.

  • (4154) Rumsey = 1985 NE

Norman J. Rumsey (b. 1924) is New Zealand's foremost optical designer. With Garry Nankivell, he has developed numerous optical systems for professional and amateur astronomers throughout the country. Rumsey's three-mirror designs were of particular interest.

  • (4243) Nankivell = 1981 GF1

Garry R. Nankivell (b. 1929) is New Zealand's pre-eminent optical craftsman. Among his many productions are the optics for Mt. John Observatory's 1-m f/8-f/13 McLellan Telescope. He has collaborated with Norman Rumsey on many innovative optical designs.

  • (4248) Ranald = 1984 HX

The orbit programs constructed by Ranald McIntosh (b. 1933) enabled the discoverers to follow many of the new minor planets they found in the 1980s. He maintains the database for the Variable Star Section of the Royal Astronomical Society of New Zealand.

  • (4409) Kissling = 1989 MD

Warwick M. Kissling (b. 1957) is an innovative applied mathematician. His computations have allowed the follow-up and recovery of several new minor planets.

Alan Gilmore works at the Mt John Observatory in Tekapo
Pam Kilmartin is at Mt John Observatory.