International Astronomical Union names asteroid after Pandit Jasraj

The asteroid, or more formally known as a minor planet, is located between Mars and Jupiter, and was discovered on November 11, 2006.

September 29, 2019 10:12 pm | Updated September 30, 2019 12:15 am IST - NEW DELHI

Pandit Jasraj, seen performing at a concert here, now belongs to a group that includes Johann Bach and Beethoven.

Pandit Jasraj, seen performing at a concert here, now belongs to a group that includes Johann Bach and Beethoven.

The International Astronomical Union (IAU) has named an asteroid, discovered in 2006, after Indian classical singer Pandit Jasraj.

The asteroid, or more formally known as a minor planet, is located between Mars and Jupiter, and was discovered on November 11, 2006, by the Catalina Sky Survey, whose telescopes are based in Arizona in the United States. The privilege of naming a planet is first given to discoverers, who have 10 years to propose a name.

The discoverer or team is expected to write a short citation, explaining the reasons for assigning the name, according to the IAU’s guidelines.

All names proposed are judged by the 15-member Working Group for Small Body Nomenclature (CSBN) of the IAU, comprising professional astronomers with research interests in minor planets and/or comets from around the world. The Hindu could not immediately ascertain who proposed Pandit Jasraj’s name.

Pandit Jasraj told The Hindu on the phone that he was delighted with the honour. “It’s the proximity of this named planetoid to Jupiter, or Guru, that strikes a chord. What I have today is due to the blessings and grace of my gurus and I dedicate this honour to Bharat.”

Durga Jasraj, his daughter, said the news “came out of the blue” and it was a “privilege” that her father was named along with Johann Bach, Ludwig van Beethoven and Rabindranath Tagore, who also have minor planets named after them.

As of September, there are 5,41,131 numbered minor planets of a total of 7,97,078 observed bodies, with the rest being unnumbered minor planets.

“Sangeet Martand Pandit Jasraj (b. 1930) is an exponent of Indian classical vocal music. Jasraj is the recipient of numerous awards, honours, and titles, including the prestigious Padma Vibhushan and the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award. His distinctive voice traverses a remarkable four-and-a-half octaves,” reads an IAU citation available on the California Institute of Technology’s database on small planetary bodies.

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