Minor planet named after former Chess grandmaster Vishwanathan Anand
With this naming, Grandmaster Vishwanathan has registered his name into the books of planetary science. Other world chess champions whose names are registered in celestial objects are Alexander Alekhine and Anatoly Karpov.
Michael Rudenko, a committee member of the Minor Planet Center on 1 April 2015 officially named a minor planet as 4538 Vishyanand, to honour India’s first chess grandmaster, Vishwanathan Anand.
The main-belt minor planet was discovered between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter by Kenzo Suzuki in Toyota, Aichi Prefecture, Japan, on 10 October 1988. Since its discovery, the planet remained unnamed.
With this, Anand joined former world chess champions Alexander Alekhine and Anatoly Karpov who have had a similar honour bestowed on them. Other sports personalities on whom such honours have been bestowed include Donald Bradman, Jesse Owens, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.
Process of naming celestial objects
The discoverer retains the privilege of suggesting a name for 10 years, while a committee chosen from the working group of the International Astronomical Union has the final authority to finally assign a name to a numbered minor planet.
Michael Rudenko who was invited to do the honours, proposed the name Vishyanand, following the rules. The rules require names to be 16 characters or fewer, and preferably without spaces, along with a brief citation explaining the reason for the name.
What is a minor planet?
A minor planet is an astronomical object in direct orbit around the Sun that is neither a planet nor originally classified as a comet. Minor planets can be dwarf planets, asteroids, trojans, centaurs, Kuiper belt objects, and other trans-Neptunian objects.
The term minor planet has been used since the 19th century to describe astronomical objects.
The first minor planet discovered was Ceres in 1801. The orbits of 670000 minor planets were archived at the Minor Planet Center by 2015.