Friday, April 10, 2015

Pestaño: Vishy Anand has a planet

 Thursday, April 09, 2015

I have always been fascinated with astronomy and became a member of the Philippine Astronomical Society in the 70s and 80s.
I read on Chessbase that a minor planet has been named after Anand, the former world chess champion.
I thought it was a joke as it was April Fool’s day, which is a tradition in Chessbase, however it is really true.
Minor planets or asteroids are rocky bodies that range in size from boulders tens of meters wide to the size of islands hundreds of kilometers across mostly between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, called the Main Asteroid Belt.
The International Astronomical Union (IAU), through its 15-member Committee on Small Body Nomenclature, is the scientific organization responsible for the naming of asteroids and comets
Michael Rudenko, a committee member and a chess enthusiast , named it after Anand, who is an astronomy buff. The minor planet is now called 4538 Vishy Anand and he is ecstatic!
Anand sometimes uses the Telescope in Australia and is credited for capturing the images of the Lagoon Nebula and Jellyfish nebula, both galactic remnants of a supernova. The images produced by Anand show all the unique details.
Anand is not the only chess player with a a minor planet. The other ones are Alexander Alekhine (1909 Alekhin), Vassily Smyslov (5413 Smyslov), Anatoly Karpov(90174 Karpov), Mikhail Chigorin (7268 Chigorin) and Kirsan Ilyumzhinov(5570 Kirsan).
There are also minor planets named after prominent Filipinos. I will mention only three- Victor Badillo, Roman Kintanar and Christopher Go.
I met Badillo (4816 Badillo) in the 70s during my active days with the Philippine Astronomical Society as he was its founder and president .He was a Jesuit and director of the Ateneo Observatory.
Roman Kintanar (6636 Kintanar) s a meteorologist and was director of Pagasa for 40 years and comes from Argao. He is related to Clodualdo Bajenting, a Kintanar, who was with Sunstar.Cebu.
Christopher Go( 30100 Christophergo) is a Cebuano Astro- photographer since 1990. He produced the excellent images of the eclipses of the Galilean moons of Jupiter and discovered the red spot jr. of Jupiter in 2006.
Christopher was given the Presidential Order of Lakandula for his contribution to astronomy. He also received the Association of Lunar and Planetary Observers (ALPO) Walter Haas Award.
Since our topic is astronomy, permit me to add some important items.
Mankind`s most ambitious project ever is Mars One,which is to colonize Mars by 2024.
When the project asked for volunteers, more than 200,000 applied knowing that it is a one-way ticket and they will never return. That group was whittled down to 1058 in December 2013 and further to 660 by February 2014.
There are now only 100 left -50 men and 50 women- and will undergo more screening that can “endure all the hardships of a permanent settlement in Mars”.
The big news is that two pinays are included namely Jaymee del Rosario 27 and Minerva Raneses 24.
Jaymee said .” “I want to offer my life experience, knowledge and skills to the Mars One team to achieve the goal for preserving humanity,”
Rañeses, 24, describes herself as an “intellectual wanderer” who seeks “growth in knowledge and philosophy.”
You might be surprised to know that there are two more “willing” - Senators Nancy Binay and Miriam Defensor Santiago.
Miriam was reportedly quoted as saying “. I want to live in a place where I will only be dealing with intellectuals, not these good-for-nothing, self-absorbed and corrupt colleagues of mine in Philippine Congress.I believe that the planet Mars is that place.” How about that!

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