Star Trek Actor Becomes A Heavenly Body

georgetakeiasteroid.jpg
Sometimes a star has something that I am crazy jealous of, like Reese Witherspoon’s Oscar dress. I am crazy jealous of this, as I could never get close to having something this cool named after me.

Star Trek actor George Takei has been chosen as the namesake of the asteroid formerly known as the 1994 GT9.

The asteroid, located between Mars and Jupiter, has been renamed 7307 Takei in honour of the actor, who is best known for his role as Hikaru Sulu in the original Star Trek series.

“I am now a heavenly body,” Takei said today, laughing.

“I found out about it yesterday. … I was blown away. It came out of the clear, blue sky – just like an asteroid.”

The celestial rock, discovered by two Japanese astronomers in 1994, joins the 4659 Roddenberry (named for the show’s creator, Gene Roddenberry) and the 68410 Nichols (for co-star Nichelle Nichols, who played Lieutenant Uhura).

Sydney Morning Herald

Now, I know you can have naming rights to stars – you can buy them at your local observatory. The Auckland observatory claim you can actually see the star you adopt, but that’s just probably because the stars you can see from new Zealand aren’t popular. They certainly aren’t as cool as having an asteroid named after you because you used to pretend to be on a space ship – the star ship Enterprise – which also has an asteroid named after it.

The International Astronomical Union (IAU) point out that purchasing or adopting a star means very little in their community, but being given one by them means that astronomers themselves will use the name given.

Whoever discovers an asteroid, for you amateur stargazers out there, has ten years to give it a name. After that the IAU consider other suggestions, where it strongly warns against names in questionable taste, or military and political leaders less than 100 years dead. I guess George Bush has a few years before we can hurtle him through the universe…

In case you were wondering, some other famous names to grace our skies include Elvis, Lennon, McCartney, and Shakespeare.

And that’s your daily dose of space trivia.

For those of you who, like myself, aren’t Star Trek fans, George Takei is now seen on Heroes, as Hiro Nakamura’s father.

Picture note by Celebitchy: Header image is not Takei’s specific asteroid, and was found at Space-Travel.com. Picture of George Takei via MSNBC.

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