MINISTER TO VISIT ARMAGH

Armagh Observatory, 7 February 2000:

The Minister of Culture, Arts & Leisure, Mr Michael McGimpsey MLA, visited the Armagh Observatory today (9th February), to attend a special ceremony officially naming the minor planet, (9140) Deni. The International Astronomical Union (IAU) named the asteroid after the former Department of Education for Northern Ireland (DENI).

The asteroid, discovered in 1977, is about 10 kilometres in diameter and moves around the Sun in a stable orbit in the main asteroid belt, between Mars and Jupiter. One “year” on the asteroid equals a little less than 4 Earth years. Minor planet Deni is currently about 230 million miles from Earth and 243 million miles from the Sun, close to the bright star Menkar, in the constellation Cetus, the Whale.

Dr Brian Marsden, of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, Cambridge, Massachusetts, representing the IAU, made the announcement and presented a book, giving information about the asteroid, to Mr McGimpsey. Dr Marsden also presented the Minister with a map of the inner solar system showing the orbit of Deni.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: John McFarland at the Armagh Observatory, Tel.: 028-3752-2928.

Last Revised: 11th February 2000
WWW contact: jmf@star.arm.ac.uk
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