Fun_People Archive
24 May
Ever wonder what rights you get when astronomers name something after

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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Fri, 24 May 96 13:22:31 -0700
To: Fun_People
Subject: Ever wonder what rights you get when astronomers name something after

From: James Randi --- Wizard <>

The official announcement by the International Astronomical Union, published
in the Minor Planet Circular (MPC) of May 3, 1996, describes my asteroid as:

(3163) Randi = 1981 QM

Discovered  Aug. 28, 1981 by C.T. Kowal at Palomar Observatory, California.

Named in honour of the American magician James Randi (b. 1928; real
name Randall James Hamilton Zwinge) for his continuing efforts in
debunking the claims of the paranormal community and exposing the
tricks that charlatans use.  His use of scientific techniques in many
disciplines has contributed to the refutation of suspicious and
fraudulent claims of paranormal results.  Name proposed by A. Dill and
J. Meeus.


Andreas Dill tells me that my asteroid is in excellent company.  He

"In MPC 27127 we have (4923) Clarke, named for Arthur C. Clarke, and
in MPC 27128 there is (5020) Asimov."  Martin Gardner's rock is 2587

Andreas says he will look for some more information on my asteroid
such as what kind of rock it's composed of, which classification it
has among the other planetoids, etc.

There has been some concern among scientists as to the astrological
effect my rock will have on the futures of persons born while it is
present in the sky....  Also, since it will soon be making a close
approach to the Earth, whether psychic forces will be able to bring it
out of orbit and send it hurtling down to decimate life on this
planet.  I tell you, the responsibility that goes with this honor is

On the other hand, the power it confers is very satisfying.  I will
now accept nominations for potential targets on Earth that might
receive 3163 Randi.  No frivolous suggestions, please.

                                                          James Randi

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