An international collection of scientists who study asteroids, comets, and meteors met this week at the (appropriately named) Asteroids Comets Meteors 2017 conference in Montevideo, Uruguay. It is the most important such conference in the world for these researchers. A tradition at this approximately-triennial conference (first held in 1983) is to honor some of the researchers in the community by naming asteroids for them, and this year’s conference was no exception. Asteroid 10689, a.k.a. 1981 DZ1, is now officially named Pinillaalonso in honor of UCF’s very own Dr. Noemí Pinilla-Alonso, a planetary astronomer here at the Florida Space Institute. Additionally, asteroid 10282, a.k.a. 1981 ET46, is now officially named Emilykramer in honor of Dr. Emily Kramer, a scientist at Caltech/JPL who earned her Ph.D. at UCF in our group in 2014. Both asteroids are in the Main Asteroid Belt between Mars and Jupiter. Pinillaalonso is about 13 to 14 kilometers in diameter; Emilykramer is about 2 to 4 kilometers in diameter.
Drs. Pinilla-Alonso and Kramer join a few other faculty at UCF — Drs. Britt, Campins, Fernández, Lugo, and Harrington — who have been similarly honored with asteroid names. In total, over a dozen current and former UCF personnel have been so honored.