ArticleEvent Blog

Denmark Calling: What’s in a name?

Runde Taarn

As stories from various regional Asteroid Day events reach us here at Asteroid Day HQ, we decided to share a couple of interesting ones with you! First off, we have Denmark.

Today, I would like to highlight a small, but rather fun fact from Jordi Steen Forteza, the regional coordinator of Asteroid Day Denmark in Copenhagen. Jordi was involved in the organisation of 2 different events, the first one as early as 2nd March, 2017 at the observatory on top of the Runde Taarn in Copenhagen, a talk about “Asteroids, Impact Threats, and the Potential Applications of Asteroids”. On 30th June, 2017, when Asteroid Day was upon us, Katrine Rasmussen and Tina Ibsen gathered 76 attendees at the Tycho Brahe Planetarium for a presentation and Astronomical Friday Night Bar Quiz that they organised. The event dealt with asteroids and conspiracy theories under the title of “Asteroid Facts vs. Alternative Facts”.
Jordi’s second event, also on 30th June, 2017 took place at Copenhagen’s Geological Museum and was organised by the SNU (Selskabet for Naturlærens Udbredelse), the Danish Association for the Advancement of Natural Sciences. The event was lead by Danish planetary scientist Dr. Line Drube and amateur astronomer Jordi Steen Forteza. But its 100 participants almost didn’t get to take part in the three talks and guided tour of the largest meteorite exhibition in Denmark. The event came to be due to a failed asteroid naming attempt a few months prior!

How a misnamed asteroid lead to Asteroid Day Denmark

Here’s the short story behind it:

This year’s Asteroid Day event at the Geological Museum, would probably never have happened without an asteroid naming attempt, that was cancelled!

It was late March 2017 and Jordi was thinking about naming an asteroid. The asteroid in question
was one that he had helped discover during his time as a very active amateur astronomer, back in
Mallorca in 2003. After some time thinking about it, he finally decided the naming should honour the
Danish asteroid scientist Dr. Line Drube, hoping that it might also attract attention towards Asteroid Day
in Denmark. However, after starting the naming process he received a message from a senior scientist at
the Planetary Research Institute at the DLR (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt, the German space agency), who kindly asked Jordi to withdraw the proposal, as he and some colleagues wanted to be the ones to surprise her with an asteroid, and they had already also started the naming process.

But the story has a happy ending: In May 2017 the 3 km large asteroid (11262 Drube) was announced, and Line learned that not only one group, but two had been in the process of trying to name an asteroid for her. She felt lucky and flattered to hear this, and decided to thank Jordi for his attempt by offering to organise an Asteroid Day event with him later that year, using her network to do sp. So all of this was due to the result of a “failed” naming attempt.

Asteroid Day Denmark
From left to right: Dr. Line Drube of the DLR, Dr. Morten Bo Madsen from the Niels Bohr Institute, and Jordi Forteza from Asteroid Day Denmark to the right, after an evening of lectures and guided tours.

We for one are glad that Line got an asteroid named after her in the end after all and would like to thank her, Jordi and all of the other people involved in Asteroid Day Denmark for a job well done!

Tusind tak!

If you’d like to organise your own Asteroid Day Event next year (after all, as of today, Asteroid Day 2018 is only 330 days away!), please do so by registering it on our Events page. There, you’ll also find resources and all the information needed to launch your own event. And we guarantee that you won’t have to first discover and attempt to name an asteroid in order to do so.

Other, previous regional stories include Asteroid Day Chile, Sweden, and Mexico!

And speaking of naming asteroids, this does seem like a tricky endeavour. Not unlike Jordi, Asteroid Day supporter Matt Dawson has a similar story of his own to share: This July he realised that an asteroid was named after him as well – but already almost 20 years ago. Read his full story in Luxembourg’s English-language Delano magazine!

Pol Felten

The author Pol Felten

Pol Felten is the Communications Manager of Asteroid Day Global. He works from the Luxembourg office.